The growth spurt in CO2
Between 1990 and 2015 there was a 37% increase in radiative forcing -- the warming effect on our climate -- because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (N2O) from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.
"The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. "The El Niño event has disappeared. Climate change has not."
"The recent agreement in Kigali to amend the so-called Montreal Protocol and phase out hydrofluorocarbons, which act as strong greenhouse gases, is good news. WMO salutes the commitment of the international community to meaningful climate action," said Mr Taalas.
"But the real elephant in the room is carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years and in the oceans for even longer. Without tackling CO2
WMO and partners are working towards an Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System to provide information that can help nations to track the progress toward implementation of their national emission pledges, improve national emission reporting and inform additional mitigation actions. This system builds on the long-term experience of WMO in greenhouse gas observations and atmospheric modelling.
WMO is also striving to improve weather and climate services for the renewable energy sector and to support the Green Economy and sustainable development. To optimize the use of solar, wind and hydropower production, new types of weather services are needed.
Highlights of Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere and the oceans. About a quarter of the total emissions is taken up by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere, reducing in this way the amount of CO2
The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making. WMO released it ahead of the U.N. climate change negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, to be held from 7 -- 18 November 2016.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for about 65% of radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases. The pre-industrial level of about 278 ppm represented a balance between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels has altered the natural balance and in 2015, globally averaged levels were 144% of pre-industrial levels. In 2015, global annual average concentration of CO2concentrations reached 400.0 ppm. The increase of CO2
In addition to reducing the capacity of vegetation to absorb CO2the powerful El Niño also led to an increase in CO2
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Other long-lived greenhouse gases
Sulphur hexafluoride is a potent long-lived greenhouse gas. It is produced by the chemical industry, mainly as an electrical insulator in power distribution equipment. Atmospheric levels are about twice the level observed in the mid-1990s. Ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), together with minor halogenated gases, contribute about 12% to radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases. While CFCs and most halons are decreasing, some hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are also potent greenhouse gases, are increasing at relatively rapid rates, although they are still low in abundance.
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