Record high levels of CO2 and methane were recorded in the atmosphere over Norway in 2019. Pictured here is the Zeppelin observatory in Spitsbergen, the largest of the islands in Svalbard.

Record high levels of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere over Norway in 2019

For the 19th year in a row, record high levels of CO2 and methane were measured in the atmosphere over Norway, according to new numbers.

The observations from 2019 show that the annual average CO2 concentration in the atmosphere that year was 411,9 parts per million (ppm) at Zeppelin in Svalbard. This is 2,6 ppm more than the year before.

At Birkenes in Agder, the concentration is 416,1 ppm, which is 0,9 ppm higher than the year before.

This is according to a report by NILU, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Concentration of CO2 is increasing

“We have observed new CO2-records at Zeppelin every year since 2001”, says Cathrine Lund Myhre from NILU in a press release.

“As long as we keep emitting more CO2 than that which is stored, the concentration in the atmosphere will continue to increase”, she says.

If the world is to keep the temperature below the 2 degree limit, the concentration of CO2 needs to stabilize at a level below 400 ppm over time.

Increased concentration of methane

When it comes to methane, the annual average was measured to 1961,2 parts per billion (ppb) at Birkenes, and 1952,9 ppb at Zeppelin.

Compared to 2018-levels, this represents an increase at Zeppelin of 14,3 ppb, the highest annual increase ever registered. At Birkenes, the increase was also considerable, at 8,2 ppb.

According to Lund Myhre, the increase in the concetration of methane is still a mystery to the researchers.

“We don’t know for certain whether the increase is due to emissions of methane from human activity, or if it is because climate change has started processes in nature that release more methane into the atmosphere”, Lund Myhre says.

Translated by: Ida Irene Bergstrøm


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