[Vision2020] 11-25-19 World Meteorological Organization: Greenhouse gas concentrations in atmosphere reach yet another high

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Tue Nov 26 17:54:47 PST 2019

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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plus 70 years, Ted Moffett.  Do not copy, forward, excerpt, or reproduce
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There is an abundance of misinformation and pseudo-science on global
warming on the Internet and elsewhere.  Scientific accuracy is thus
critical to educated public responses to the climate crisis.  Over and over
I have heard people pontificate that methane, NOT CO2, is a more important
cause of global warming.  This is alarming misinformation.

If you read through this new report from the WMO, they clearly indicate
that the three top greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are in order of
magnitude of impact, CO2, methane and nitrous oxide.  This agrees with
numerous other scientific sources of information on this subject I have
studied for decades!

A Moscow-Pullman Daily News column on May 16, 2019 indicated  "CO2, methane
and ozone ---the major greenhouse gases." as the quote below indicates:

Their View: Don't water down climate change
Al Poplawksy and Michael Jennings
*"Land-based equipment shows that other than water vapor, the greatest
amount of heat emitted from the atmosphere back toward Earth’s surface, is
at specific wavelengths corresponding to CO2, methane and ozone—the major
greenhouse gases."*

I responded in the online MPDN comments section at the bottom of the column
as follows:

Ted Moffett <https://www.facebook.com/ted.moffett.35>
I agree with most everything Poplawsky and Jennings stated in this column.
But the three major greenhouse gases, as far as my study of this issue has
revealed, apart from water vapor, are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous
oxide, so called "non-condensing" gases. Do I misunderstand what they mean?
Ozone is not among the top three greenhouse gases, according to EPA source
below. Nitrous oxide release is promoted by use of artificial nitrogen rich
fertilizer in agriculture. EPA source:
A GISS scientific paper on this issue is relevant:


Greenhouse gas concentrations in atmosphere reach yet another high

Geneva, 25 November 2019 - Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to the World
Meteorological Organization. This continuing long-term trend means that
future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of
climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water
stress, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
<https://library.wmo.int/index.php?lvl=notice_display&id=21620> showed that
globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 407.8
parts per million in 2018, up from 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017.

The increase in CO2 from 2017 to 2018 was very close to that observed from
2016 to 2017 and just above the average over the last decade. Global levels
of CO2 crossed the symbolic and significant 400 parts per million benchmark
in 2015.

CO2 remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the oceans for even

Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also surged by higher amounts
than during the past decade, according to observations from the Global
Atmosphere Watch network which includes stations in the remote Arctic,
mountain areas and tropical islands.

Since 1990, there has been a 43% increase in total radiative forcing – the
warming effect on the climate - by long-lived greenhouse gases. CO2 accounts
for about 80% of this, according to figures from the US National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration quoted in the WMO Bulletin.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases
concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris
Agreement on Climate Change,»  said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of
ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind,” he said.

 “It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a
comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the
temperature was 2-3°C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,”
said Mr Taalas.

*Emissions Gap*

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, lithosphere,
cryosphere and the oceans. About a quarter of the total emissions is
absorbed by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere.

Global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020, if
current climate policies and ambition levels of the Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs) are maintained. Preliminary findings from the
Emissions Gap Report 2019 indicate that greenhouse gas emissions continued
to rise in 2018, according to an advanced chapter of the Emissions Gap
as part of a United in Science synthesis
<https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/united_in_science> for the UN
Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September.

The United in Science report, which brought together major partner
organizations in the domain of global climate change research, underlined
the glaring – and growing – gap between agreed targets to tackle global
warming and the actual reality.

"The findings of WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and UNEP's Emissions Gap
Report point us in a clear direction - in this critical period, the world
must deliver concrete, stepped-up action on emissions," said Inger
Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). "We
face a stark choice: set in motion the radical transformations we need now,
or face the consequences of a planet radically altered by climate change."

A separate and complementary Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment will be
released on 26 November. Now in its tenths year, the Emissions Gap report
assesses the latest scientific studies on current and estimated future
greenhouse gas emissions; they compare these with the emission levels
permissible for the world to progress on a least-cost pathway to achieve
the goals of the Paris Agreement. This difference between “where we are
likely to be and where we need to be” is known as the emissions gap.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the Summit had delivered “a
boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition. But we have a long way to go.”

This will now be taken forward by the UN Climate Change Conference,
<https://unfccc.int/> which will be held from 2 to15 December in Madrid,
Spain, under the presidency of Chile.

*Key Findings of the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin*

The bulletin includes a focus on how isotopes confirm the dominant role of
fossil fuel combustion in the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

There are multiple indications that the increase in the atmospheric levels
of CO2 are related to fossil fuel combustion. Fossil fuels were formed from
plant material millions of years ago and do not contain radiocarbon. Thus,
burning it will add to the atmosphere radiocarbon-free CO2, increasing CO2
levels and decreasing its radiocarbon content. And this is exactly what is
demonstrated by the measurements.

*Carbon dioxide*

[image: Carbon dioxide_2019]

Carbon dioxide is the main long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere
related to human activities. Its concentration reached new highs in 2018 of
407.8 ppm, or 147% of pre-industrial level in 1750.

The increase in CO2 from 2017 to 2018 was above the average growth rate
over the last decade. The growth rate of CO2 averaged over three
consecutive decades (1985–1995, 1995–2005 and 2005–2015) increased from
1.42 ppm/yr to 1.86 ppm/yr and to 2.06 ppm/yr with the highest annual
growth rates observed during El Niño events.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Annual
Greenhouse Gas Index  shows that from 1990 to 2018 radiative forcing by
long-lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGs) increased by 43%, with CO2 accounting
for about 80% of this increase


[image: Methane]

Methane (CH4) is the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas and
contributes about 17% of radiative forcing. Approximately 40% of methane is
emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources (e.g., wetlands and
termites), and about 60% comes from human activities like cattle breeding,
rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1869 parts per billion
(ppb) in 2018 and is now 259% of the pre-industrial level. For CH4, the
increase from 2017 to 2018 was higher than both that observed from 2016 to
2017 and the average over the last decade.

*Nitrous Oxide*

[image: Nitrous Oxide]

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about
60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil,
biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.

Its atmospheric concentration in 2018 was 331.1 parts per billion. This is
123% of pre-industrial levels. The increase from 2017 to 2018 was also
higher than that observed from 2016 to 2017 and the average growth rate
over the past 10 years.

Nitrous oxide also plays an important role in the destruction of the
stratospheric ozone layer which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet
rays of the sun. It accounts for about 6% of radiative forcing by
long-lived greenhouse gases.

*Notes for EditorsThe **WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme*
<https://community.wmo.int/activity-areas/gaw>* coordinates systematic
observations and analysis of greenhouse gases and other trace species.
Fifty four countries contributed data for the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
Measurement data are reported by participating countries and archived and
distributed by the **World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases*
<http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/wdcgg/>* (WDCGG) at the Japan Meteorological

For further information contact: Clare Nullis, media officer. Email
cnullis at wmo.int. Cell +41 79 709 13 97
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