November 26, 2005
It Is Us Driving Global Warming
By: Rowan Wolf
The latest report from European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) removes any doubts that humans are dramatically affecting the climate. New core samples from Antarctica show that current CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels are higher than they have been for at least 650,000 years. Other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide have also risen dramatically since the 1800s to near record (in geological time) levels (Environment News Service).
The New Scientist reports that the CO2 levels are 27% above the highest levels in the last 650,000 years. This is leading to arguments that rapidly rising sea levels are linked to warming. Sea levels are now rising twice as fast as 150 years ago.
The EPICA report goes back 650,000 years. I find that to be a time frame that is difficult to grasp. The old living thing on the earth is the Methuselah Tree at 4,649 years old. At 650,000 years, roughly 139 "Methuselah" trees would have lived and died. For humans with a life span of roughly 100 years that amounts to 6500 full life times. The overwhelming amount of the increase in CO2 has happened since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the massive burning of fossil fuels. In roughly 150 years, we have beat everything that nature has to offer - including exceeding the impacts of super volcanoes. Quite an accomplishment - though not one we should be particularly proud of.
Posted by Rowan at November 26, 2005 10:04 AM Category: Global Warming