“It’s kind of a wakeup moment,” says Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps Carbon Dioxide Program in California that recorded levels of carbon dioxide above 400 parts per million for the first time at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii earlier this month.
Keeling’s father began measuring levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide at the observatory in the 1950s when carbon dioxide levels hovered around 300 parts per million. But the amount of carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily since then.
“The trend is driven almost entirely by the burning of fossil fuels and rates of fuel production have only gone up in the last few decades so the growth rate of carbon dioxide continues to accelerate,” Keeling told the BarentsObserver.
The high carbon dioxide levels have significant implications for the environment. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, more of it in the atmosphere means climate change will accelerate. The earth will become greener because more carbon dioxide causes plants to photosynthesize faster and the chemistry of the world’s oceans will change as higher volumes of carbon dioxide are absorbed in their waters, making them more acidic.
These changes will be particularly devastating in the far north where impacts of climate change are often amplified, Keeling says.
Ingunn Skjelvan, a scientist with the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research in Norway, says this is partly because the cold Arctic Ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide than warmer waters further south.
Though salt in the ocean forms a natural buffer system that normally regulates pH levels, this process is becoming less effective because warmer weather causes freshwater in the Arctic to melt and this is reducing the salinity of the ocean.
“The main problem is that we’ll most likely disturb the ecosystems in the ocean and that at the end will also have an effect on the people who get their food and income from the sea,” Skjelvan says.
Carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa are now falling slightly below 400 parts per million, which is in line with seasonal fluctuation. Keeling says concentrations of the gas are always highest in May and then start to fall in the spring when more plants emerge to take up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
But readings of 400 parts per million will return and will start to become more and more common.
“There’s an inevitability to continue the trend as long as we continue to depend on fossil fuels the way we do,” Keeling says.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.