Washington Post - May 14, 2019
Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius). Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.
By themselves, these are just data points. But taken together with so many indicators of an altered atmosphere and rising temperatures, they blend into the unmistakable portrait of human-induced climate change.
Saturday’s steamy 84-degree reading was posted in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is around 54 this time of year. The city of 350,000 people sits next to the White Sea, which feeds into the Arctic Ocean’s Barents Sea.
... In Greenland, for example, the ice sheet’s melt season began about a month early. In Alaska, several rivers saw winter ice break up on their earliest dates on record.
Across the Arctic overall, the extent of sea ice has hovered near a record low for weeks.
Data from the Japan Meteorological Agency show April was the second warmest on record for the entire planet.
These changes all have occurred against the backdrop of unremitting increases in carbon dioxide, which has now crossed another symbolic threshold.
Saturday’s carbon dioxide measurement of 415 parts per million at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory is the highest in at least 800,000 years and probably over 3 million years. Carbon dioxide levels have risen by nearly 50 percent since the Industrial Revolution. ...
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