Alarming rise in CO2 concentrations presents continuing global challenge

October 11, 2000

Paul G. Falkowski, a professor at Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS) with a joint appointment to the geology department, is the lead author of an article in the Oct.13 issue of Science that shows that in the course of the last 200 years, humans have significantly altered the global carbon cycle.

Falkowski and his co-authors wrote the article under the auspices of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which Falkowski co-chaired with fellow author R.J. Scholes of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa. The IGBP Carbon Working Group, established by the United Nations, met in Stockholm in November 1999 to study the impact of human activities on the rate of change in atmospheric CO2. The group examined changes in biogeochemical and climatological processes along with alterations in international carbon and nutrient cycles. Comparing contemporary processes with the 420,000 years prior to the Industrial Revolution, they determined that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen at a rate of some 10 to possibly 100 times faster than at any prior time in the Earth's history.

"As we drift further away from the domain that characterized the preindustrial Earth system, we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond," write the article's authors.

"We appear to be fated to continue the increase in CO2 in the biosphere unless governments come to terms with new technologies. Human beings are ultimately responsible for their own fate," says Falkowski.
-end-
Yair Rosenthal, assistant research professor at IMCS, was also a member of the IGBP and a co-author of the article.

Falkowski is available for interviews at (732) 932-6555, extension 370.

Rutgers University

Related Atmospheric Articles from Brightsurf:

Atmospheric dust levels are rising in the Great Plains
A study finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year.

New, rapid mechanism for atmospheric particle formation
Carnegie Mellon University researchers working with an international team of scientists have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that allows atmospheric particles to very rapidly form under certain conditions.

Atmospheric tidal waves maintain Venus' super-rotation
An international research team led by Takeshi Horinouchi of Hokkaido University has revealed that the 'super-rotation' on Venus is maintained near the equator by atmospheric tidal waves formed from solar heating on the planet's dayside and cooling on its nightside.

Atmospheric chemists move indoors
Most people spend the majority of their time at home, yet little is known about the air they breathe inside their houses.

Daily rainfall over Sumatra linked to larger atmospheric phenomenon
In a new study led by atmospheric scientist Giuseppe Torri at the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), researchers revealed details of the connection between a larger atmospheric phenomenon, termed the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), and the daily patterns of rainfall in the Maritime Continent.

Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.

New clues to origins of mysterious atmospheric waves in Antarctica
CU Boulder team finds link between gravity waves in the upper and lower Antarctic atmosphere, helping create a clearer picture of global air circulation.

Responses of the tropical atmospheric circulation to climate change
An international team describes the climate change-induced responses of the tropical atmospheric circulation and their impacts on the hydrological cycle.

Atmospheric seasons could signal alien life
To complement traditional biosignatures, and thanks to funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, scientists at the University of California, Riverside's Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center are developing the first quantitative framework for dynamic biosignatures based on seasonal changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Eurasian atmospheric circulation anomalies can persist from winter to the following spring
Surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies have pronounced impacts on agriculture, socioeconomic development, and people's daily lives.

Read More: Atmospheric News and Atmospheric Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.