Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2011, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In the last 20 years, there has been a 30% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – due to carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide levels.
Only half of the 375 billion tons of carbon released since 1750, the start of the industrial era, have been absorbed in carbon sinks such as oceans and forests.
The report also found that:
- CO2 accounts for over 80% of the GHG increase from 1990-2011.
- Atmospheric methane levels reached a new high of about 1,813 parts per billion (ppb).
- While concentrations of nitrous oxide in 2011 were 1.0 ppb above the previous year, its impact on climate is 298 times greater than equal emissions of carbon dioxide.
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