WMO: CO2 Level Reaches Record High in 2016 (Download PDF)


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World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) reported record levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions the atmosphere. In 2016 globally averaged concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached to 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time.

World Meteorological Organization’s

World Meteorological Organization’s

World Meteorological Organization’s

In 2016, it is expected to record even higher on the back of the very powerful El Nino event. It is believed that climate change cannot be tackled without attacking CO2 emissions, as half-life of this greenhouse gas is very long.

Key Worries

  • First time ever CO2 levels reached the 400-ppm barrier on a global average basis.
  • Longest-established GHGs monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii predicts that CO2 concentrations will stay above 400 ppm for whole of 2016 and not dip below that level for many generations.
  • In 1990 to 2015, there was a 37% rise in radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) because of long-lived GHGs released from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.
  • GHGs includes:

    • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
    • Methane
    • Nitrous oxide (N2O)

Relation between CO2 emissions and El Nino Event

  • Growth emission in CO2was fuelled by the El Nino event.
  • Event was started in 2015 and had a strong impact well into 2016.
  • El Nino event had caused droughts in tropical regions.
  • Reduced the capacity of sinks like forests, vegetation and the oceans to absorb CO2
  • These sinks currently absorb about half of CO2 emissions but there is a risk that they may become saturated, increasing the fraction of emitted CO2 which stays in the atmosphere.

About WMO (World Metrological Organisation)

  • WMO is an intergovernmental organisation and specialized agency of the UN.
  • Deals with meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
  • Provide a framework for international cooperation in the development of meteorology and operational hydrology.
  • Part of United Nations Development Group.
  • Originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) (which was founded in 1873).
  • Formation: 1950
  • Membership: 191 Member States and Territories
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

- Published/Last Modified on: October 25, 2016


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