21 June 2016
CO2 hits record highs in the Southern hemisphere
Last month, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as measured at
Amsterdam Island, in the southern Indian Ocean, for the first time exceeded the symbolic
value of 400 ppm1, or 0.04%. The CO2 concentrations recorded at the Amsterdam Island
research station are the lowest in the world (excluding seasonal cycles), due to the
island’s remoteness from anthropogenic sources. The 400 ppm threshold was already
crossed in the Northern hemisphere during the 2012/2013 winter. In addition, the increase
of CO2 in the atmosphere is speeding up, growing by more than 2 ppm annually over the
past four years. The data has been collected for the past 35 years at the Amsterdam Island
research station by the French national observation service ICOS-France at the
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE, CNRS / CEA / UVSQ)2,
with the support of the Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).
1 ppm: parts per million (1 ppm in volume is equal to 1 cm3 per m3 of air).
2 LSCE is a laboratory belonging to the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL).