The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2015 jumped by 3.05 parts per million (ppm), the largest ever recorded jump in the data set, breaking the 1998 record. Meanwhile, rates are increasing more than 200 times faster than at the end of the last Ice Age when CO2 levels also saw a sustained increase.
Prior to the 1800’s, and the industrial revolution, the global atmospheric carbon content was around 280 ppm, last February it was recorded at 402.59 ppm. Researchers say they expected an increase in CO2 level as El Nino makes the global climate hotter and drier, resulting in lower carbon storage capacity.
However, last years recordings were the fourth consecutive year that CO2 increased by more than 2 ppm, a trend which has been on-going for more than 10 years. Unremarkably, last year was also the hottest on record, while the 15 hottest years on record have all been recorded in the time since 1998.
The 2015 jump in CO2 was recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii which has been collecting CO2 data since 1958. The data set from the observatory is highly reliable as it is removed from localized industrial production which may skew results.