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So atmospheric CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm, first time in 3 million years it's been that high. What happened 3 million years ago?

Sophia Williams Sophia Williams Nov 14, 2022 · 2 mins read
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It has recently been reported that atmospheric CO2 levels have reached 410 parts per million, a level that hasn’t been seen on Earth in the last three million years. The last time carbon dioxide levels were that high was during the Pliocene epoch, a time when the Earth was warmer and sea levels were much higher than they are today.

So, what happened three million years ago? During the Pliocene epoch, the Earth was in a warm period where carbon dioxide levels were between 350 and 450 parts per million. This led to a very different climate than we see today with higher global temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns and vastly different ecosystems. One of the most notable changes was the expansion of forests into areas that are now arid deserts. Higher CO2 levels also led to a more acidic ocean, which had negative impacts on marine life.

It’s worrying that we are currently sitting at a CO2 level that the Earth hasn’t seen in three million years. The reason for this rise in CO2 levels is a result of human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and other land use changes. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, trapping heat and causing climate change. Human activities are having a significant impact on the environment, and this is being reflected in the warming of the Earth, rising sea levels and changes in weather patterns.

The impacts of rising CO2 levels are already being seen around the world. Melting glaciers and ice caps are causing sea levels to rise, and oceanic pH levels are becoming more acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and a reduction in the number of fish species. Higher CO2 levels have also contributed to extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, and storms.

To address this situation, there needs to be collective action from governments, individuals, and companies, to reduce carbon emissions through sustainable practices and alternative energy options. We have the opportunity to limit the impact of climate change, but we need to act now before it’s too late.

While the Earth has seen high CO2 levels in the past, it is important to note that this time is different because humans are responsible for the current rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. We must take responsibility for our actions and implement policies that will reduce our carbon footprint for the future of our planet.

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Sophia Williams
Written by Sophia Williams
Always exploring new horizons and pushing the boundaries.