The World Meteorological Organization reported today that:
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new high in 2010 since pre-industrial time and the rate of increase has accelerated, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin….Between 1990 and 2010, according to the report, there was a 29% increase in radiative forcing — the warming effect on our climate system — from greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide accounted for 80% of this increase.
This report on record CO2 levels (analogous to the level of water in a bathtub) comes on the heels of a record surge in CO2 emissions (analogous to the water coming out of the faucet) — see Biggest Jump Ever in Global Warming Pollution in 2010.
The speed up in the growth rate of CO2 levels is obviously worrisome (although it was predicted by climate science):
Between 2009 and 2010, its atmospheric abundance increased by 2.3 parts per million – higher than the average for both the 1990s (1.5 parts per million) and the past decade (2.0 parts per million).
For about 10,000 years before the start of the industrial era in the mid-18th century, atmospheric carbon dioxide remained almost constant at around 280 parts per million.
We are disrupting at an accelerating pace what had been a very stable climate system for the entirety of human civilization. Not very bright.
The other worrisome aspect of the surge in GHG is return of growth in methane, a highly potent GHG. The WMO reports: