November 2, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Fact of the Day: The Atmosphere Contains Over 390 PPM Of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide (CO2) build up in the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect and global warming is the result. When the globe warms, it leads to changing weather patterns including bigger and more violent storms. It also leads to permanently changed local and regional climates. This is what we call climate change. Before the industrial age, the normal average level of CO2 in the atmosphere was 275 parts per million.
Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere. 275 ppm CO2 is a useful amount—without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit. – 350.org
Right now the atmosphere contains over 390 parts per million of carbon dioxide, well above the upper limit necessary to support the planet we know.
If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm [now over 390] to at most 350 ppm. – Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?, Cornell University Library
A warming planet results in more than just a longer summer, it can also mean extremes like long-term drought conditions or significant winter blizzard events. As the recent superstorm (Hurricane Sandy) shows us, climate change will bring us unpredictability and mass destruction.