Australia fires speed global CO2 level rise
LONDON, Jan 24: The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this year is likely to show one of the largest annual rises since measurements began in 1958, partly fueled by Australian bushfires, according to research by Britain's Met Office.
The concentration of CO2 is expected to peak above 417 parts per million (ppm) this May, while the year's average is expected to be around 414 ppm, up to nearly 3 ppm above the average for last year.
Man-made emissions are the overall driver of the long-term rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, which is the main cause of climate change.
However, added to that, weather patterns linked to swings in Pacific Ocean temperatures are known to affect the uptake of CO2 by land ecosystems.
In years when there is a warmer tropical Pacific, many regions become warmer and drier, which limits the ability of plants to grow and absorb CO2 and increases the risk of wildfires, which release further emissions.
Along with other weather patterns and human-induced climate change, this has contributed to the recent hot, dry weather in Australia, which played a key role in the severity of bushfires, the Met Office said.
An unusually long bushfire season has scorched an area one-third the size of Germany in Australia. -REUTERS