Even with lockdown and social isolation policies and the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the world, the levels of two of the most important greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane— continued to rise in 2020, according to Noaa (United States Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Agency).
According to samples collected from remote Noaa sites, the average amount of CO2 on the global surface it was 412.5 ppm (parts per million) in 2020, an increase of 2.6 ppm in the year. It is the fifth largest annual increase according to Noaa records, after 1987, 1998, 2015 and 2016. Without the recession, the increase would have been the largest ever recorded, according to Pieter Tans, senior scientist at Noaa’s Global Monitoring Laboratory .
CO levels2 in the atmosphere they are the largest in a period of 3.6 million years, a time when the concentrations of carbon dioxide were between 380 ppm and 450 ppm. At that time the sea level was 23 meters above today and the temperature was also higher than at pre-industrial levels.
The Noaa laboratory makes accurate measurements of the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, at four observation points in Hawaii, Alaska, American Samoa and the South Pole, and based on samples collected by volunteers. at more than 50 points around the world.
The analyzes also showed a significant increase in methane in the atmosphere. Gas is less abundant but 28 times more potent than CO2. The rise in 2020 was 14.7 ppm, the biggest annual increase since systematic measurement began in 1983.
Methane in the atmosphere is generated by different sources, such as the development and use of fossil fuels and as a by-product of livestock.
“Despite the increase in fossil emissions not being entirely responsible for the rise in methane levels, reducing emissions is an important step in mitigating climate change,” said Ed Dlugokencky. Noaa chemist and researcher.