Updated: Aug 24
The increased CO2 concentration level due to human activity contributes to global warming with significant repercussions for our planet. In 2008, the CO2 level was 385.34* ppm (parts per million). According to recent research**, if we reach the 450 ppm limit, this will result in an increase of the global temperature by more than 2°C (3.6°F) with catastrophic repercussions for the environment. This is the limit that usually most developed countries take into account when drawing their environmental policies.
Well, the interesting question is if this is an actual threat or if the 450 ppm limit is unreachable in the following decades, based on the existing historical growth patterns of CO2 concentration.
In order to find out, I used an s-curve model to analyze the global CO2 concentration levels from 1900 up to 2008*. As an initial displacement, I used the year 1899 CO2 concentration from the same data set. The forecast unveils a two-century growth process that is currently halfway to completion, leading to 17% higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere by the year 2050.
According to this forecast, the 450 ppm limit will be reached, by 2048, posing a serious and tangible threat to our environment that needs to be addressed now if we want to be effective.
Download the Global warming-CO2 level case study
EarthTrends ( http://earthtrends.wri.org) Searchable Database Results
Provided by the World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org)
Data downloaded 8 Mar 2011
Data before 1958: Neftel, Friedli, Moore et al. 1994. Historical Carbon Dioxide Record from the Siple Station Ice Core (reported on-line by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/siple2.013). Bern, Switzerland: University of Bern.
Data after 1958: Keeling, C.D., Whorf, T.P., and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. 2005. Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations (ppmv) derived from in-situ air samples collected at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (reported on-line by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/maunaloa.co2. Mauna Loa: Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
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UPDATE JULY 2013:
This forecast, based on data up to 2008, accurately follows actual values for CO2 emissions for 2009-2012
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