Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Review of Global Climate Management

Alan Betts

The global climate situation has become very challenging as Mother Nature has taken over to save life on Earth in the face of the planned criminal destruction by the fossil fuel industry to maximize its profits. I have discussed this in earlier articles.

Last year and this past winter, there have been new record temperatures both globally and in the U.S. In our G.E.T. region, we have had very little snow in Vermont except in the mountains, but as I write on March 11, it has been snowing all night, and it is hard to shovel the four inches off my road, so I am just watching out my window!

Trends in annual surface temperature in the past few decades (1994-2023, bottom) compared to the trend since the start of the 20th century (1901-2023, top). Recent warming is much faster than the longer-term average, with some locations warming by 1°F or more per decade. Differences are most dramatic in the Arctic, where the loss of reflective ice and snow amplifies the rate of warming. (NOAA, based on data provided by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information)

There has been a stunning change at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) international level that was a delightful and exciting surprise to me. The WMO has appointed Dr. Gianpaulo Balsamo as the director of the WMO Global Greenhouse Gas Watch (G3W). I know Gianpaulo very well as for many years he has been the Director of the European Weather Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in the UK, our finest global modeling center. We worked together on improving the ECMWF model by comparing it with detailed diurnal and seasonal analyses of 50 years of calibrated hourly Canadian Prairie data. The appointment of an expert scientist in coupled processes in Earth System Modelling will provide a solid scientific basis to assess mitigation actions taken under the Paris Agreement on climate change. He commented as follows.

The year 2023 was the warmest year on record, with super-charged extreme weather events. Finding climate change solutions is the defining challenge of our time, and this includes the need for better information on greenhouse gases – the root cause,” said Dr Gianpaolo Balsamo, the new director of the Global Greenhouse Gas Watch (G3W). The 2024-2027 G3W draft implementation plan () lays down the foundational blocks for building an integrated, operational framework which brings under one roof all space-based and surface-based observing systems, as well as modelling and data assimilation capabilities. The G3W plan will monitor carbon dioxide, which has a long lifetime and accounts for nearly two thirds of the warming effect of long-lived greenhouse gases; methane, which is a potent climate change agent but has a lifespan of only about one decade, and nitrous oxide which is an extremely potent climate change and ozone depleting agent.”

This is a flagship initiative to boost climate action at the global level as it will improve global scientific collaboration. For contrast, scientific reports to the recent COP28 meeting made it clear that the globe is still heading in the wrong direction but with more than 500 fossil fuel lobbyists present, they could be ignored.

The statistics for 2023 remove any doubt as to where we are headed. 2023 was the warmest year on record, because of long-term climate change and the effect of the 2023 and 2024 El Niño episode. Globally, all the months from July to December were the warmest on record by stunning margins above 0.3°C. All the years since 1976 have been warmer than the 20th century average. In addition, 2023 was also a year when Antarctic Sea ice coverage hit a record low.

Global sea level increased to a new high in 2023. Since the beginning of the satellite altimetry measurement in 1993, sea level has increased by 110mm (4.3 in). The oceans absorb more than 90% of anthropogenic heat in the Earth system, so they play a role in moderating global atmospheric warming. The heat content of the oceans has been increasing steadily for several decades. Measurements have become much more precise since the Argo float program was introduced in 2005, so we can see that recent ocean warming is at a steadily increasing rate.

The threshold outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement of keeping the temperature rise to 1.5°C (above Industrial Revolution temperatures) has essentially been reached and warmer temperatures lie ahead. The key reason, of course, is that politicians in the U.S. have been heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industry since 1978 not to bring the climate catastrophe under control.

Readers understand the many things we can do locally to improve our resilience to accelerating climate change. My expectation is that this shift at the WMO will give us a responsible global grasp that is outside political interference.

Dr. Alan Betts of Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, VT is a climate scientist. See

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