Recently, the global atmospheric watch group reported a permanent change in air quality. Earthlings, we are now breathing #smog. We have more than 400 parts per million (PPM) of carbon dioxide in the air we breathe. This change is permanent. This is the reality we have created and we need to live with it from now on. In this week’s blog post, I look at two major points- What does this mean for us? Why is it important?
Scientists have pieced together a picture of Earth’s climate. To do so, they used air bubbles trapped in ice and icicles. In the past, during the ice ages, carbon dioxide level was 200 ppm. Under warm periods of the Earth’s climate, the carbon dioxide level was 280 ppm. Even in the early 1960s, the carbon level was under 320 ppm. Since 2013 scientists have noted that atmospheric carbon dioxide stays at 400+ ppm.
Here is the graph showing the increase in carbon dioxide in recent times.
Carbon dioxide traps the heat of the Earth. It becomes a greenhouse gas. Natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, release tons of carbon dioxide. This warms the general atmosphere. In the past, there was plenty of forest cover. Trees were the best natural trap for carbon. In recent decades, we have deforested the Earth at a massive scale.
And we are burning fossil fuels at a furious rate. This has led to human-induced climate change. Here is a short video about climate change and fossil fuel burning.
Climate change science is somewhat intricate. Here is an interactive resource to learn more about climate change.
Using this scientific knowledge, people are able to come with some innovative solutions. A Dutch designer has devised a way to extract all the carbon from the air and make it into diamonds! Under high pressure through positive ionization process, the carbon collected is converted to residue diamonds. The towers clean the air and the carbon extracted from the air also provides revenue. Watch more about this project here.
Another entrepreneur is selling cans of Beijing air for $4 per can. No, it is not the clean air 🙂
Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a matter of serious concern. Human cognition falls by 21% with at 400 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Sea levels could rise due to melting of the ice caps. When that happens the coastal plains will become uninhabitable. While some plants grow well in increased carbon dioxide conditions, many species could also die. Ecosystems undergo a rapid change in their species composition. Warm air also causes a decrease in the ozone layer by increasing the cloud cover. Warm waters will cause several species of fish to die.
Green transport describes some ways in which air pollution is revisited in various parts of the world. We all need to do our bit to support the air. This includes supporting our local, regional and national movements that will bring greener options for us.
Carbon dioxide is moving beyond the borders. We too should look for solutions as a united planet. What will you do today?
To know more about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, visit: