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WMO: Atmospheric Concentration of Greenhouse Gases Continues to Increase

Changes in atmospheric radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases and the 2007 update of the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI). 1990 is the reference year. Click to enlarge.

Levels of climate-warming greenhouse gases continue to increase in the atmosphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2007 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

The globally averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) reached new highs in 2007 with CO2 at 383.1 ppm (up 0.5% from 2006); CH4 at 1,789 ppb (up 0.34% from 2006); and N2O at 320.9 ppb (up 0.25% from 2006). These values are higher than those in pre-industrial times (before 1750) by 37%, 156% and 19%, respectively.

Using the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), the total warming effect of all long-lived greenhouse gases was calculated to have increased by 1.06% from the previous year and by 24.2% since 1990. However, levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) continue to slowly decrease, a result of emission reductions under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

The Bulletin notes that CO2 is the most important infrared radiation absorbing, anthropogenic gas in the atmosphere and is responsible for 63% of the total radiative forcing of Earth by long-lived greenhouse gases. Its contribution to the increase in radiative forcing is 87% for the past decade and 90% for the last five years.

Measurements beginning in 1958 show that the average increase of CO2 in the atmosphere corresponds to approximately 55% of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuel combustion. The remaining fossil fuel-CO2 has been removed from the atmosphere by the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere.

Globally averaged CO2 in 2007 was 383.1 ppm and the increase from 2006 to 2007 was 1.9 ppm. This growth rate is larger than the observed average for the 1990s (~1.5 ppm/yr), mainly because of increasing emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion.

—2007 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

The growth rate for N2O during 2007 was 0.8 ppb from the year before. The mean growth rate has been 0.77 ppb per year over the past 10 years.

While the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and N2O are increasing steadily, the growth rate of methane concentrations has slowed over the past decade with some variations from one year to the next. The 6 ppb rise from 2006 to 2007 is the highest annual methane increase observed since 1998.

It is still too early to state with certainty that this latest increase is the start of a new upward trend in methane levels, according to the WMO. Human activities, such as fossil fuel exploitation, rice agriculture, biomass burning, landfills and ruminant farm animals, account for some 60% of atmospheric methane, with natural sources, such as wetlands and termites, responsible for the remaining 40%.

After water vapour, the four most prevalent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons. The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) coordinates the measurement of these gases in the atmosphere through a network of observatories located in more than 65 countries.

Since the mid-18th Century, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have risen 37%. Population growth and urban development worldwide continue to increase the use of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas. At the same time, the clearing of land for agriculture, including deforestation, is releasing carbon dioxide into the air and reducing carbon uptake by the biosphere.

This year’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is the fourth in the series, the three previous ones providing results for 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. WMO prepares and distributes the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletins in cooperation with the GAW Scientific Advisory Group for Greenhouse Gases, with the assistance of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and WMO’s World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG). The measurement data are archived and distributed by the WDCGG, hosted by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).




If 2008 is a global recession and GHGs still increase then I'd say we're hooked. It also says that efforts to find alternatives to fossil fuels are inadequate, therefore there will be a crisis when they run out.


So what.


Maybe, but you misread this. The global recession hit us in 2008 but this update is for GHGs in 2007. They haven't got the numbers for the year 08 because it isn't actually over yet.


How can anyone give the WMO any crediblity if they refuse to acknowledge the most predominate GHG forcing on climate: water vapor. Simply claiming it is short lived will not eliminate the effect of water vapor on albedo or heat trapping. Until these studies begin to accept the fact that 78% of greenhouse gas in earth's atmosphere is water vapor - they will continue to lose credibility. Credibility loss sets back the entire program to move to renewable energy independence.


reel$$, you completely miss the point in your analysis. Scientists KNOW that water vapor is the main greenhouse gas for very long, and they DO take that into account of course. But as you may know, CO2 exists on Earth ONLY as a gas, whereas water exists on Earth mainly as a liquid, or to a lesser extent as a solid. That means that even if you could remove completely ALL water vapor present in the atmosphere, and wait for a while, you would return to the original state because oceans are such a huge reservoir. Don't take scientists for idiots, please.


From the above:

"Using the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), the total warming effect of all long-lived greenhouse gases was calculated to have increased by "-- 1.06% --" from the previous year and by 24.2% since 1990. However, levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) -[however still 12% contribution ].. continue to slowly decrease, a result of emission reductions under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer."

OK. - 1.06% Then I read:

"OSLO (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions in many industrialised nations are still rising, especially in the former Soviet bloc, despite agreements to cut back, the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Monday.

Emissions by ---" 40 industrialized nations grew by 2.3 percent"--- to the equivalent of 18.0 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 from 17.6 billion in 2000, it said. They dipped 0.1 percent in 2006 compared with 2005 but underlying trends were still up.

It said the biggest recent gains were by nations of the former Soviet bloc, whose emissions had risen 7.4 percent since 2000 to 3.7 billion tonnes after crashing in the early 1990s with the collapse of former smokestack industries.

Despite the rising trend since 2000, emissions were down 4.7 percent from 1990 levels of 18.9 billion tonnes, caused mainly by the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Kyoto calls for average cuts of at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Monday's report did not consider how far the 2008 global economic slowdown may affect emissions,"

It said the rising trends showed the need for the world's environment ministers to make progress on a new U.N. climate treaty, due to be agreed by the end of next year, at talks in Poznan, Poland, from December 1 to 12.

"The figures clearly underscore the urgency for the U.N. negotiating process to make good progress in Poznan and move forward quickly in designing a new agreement to respond to the challenge of climate change," said Yvo de Boer, head of the Secretariat.

End pastes

This indicates the report refers to 2007 or is up to date.Also that the "top 40 industrialised nations are increasing emission by more than twice the rate of he rest. This should give us a feel for the state of "emissions reduction" progress



Or from:
Page last updated at 22:48 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008


The worst culprit has been Canada. Its emissions since 1990 have shot up 21.3% - they should have fallen 6%.

Recently the biggest rise was recorded by the Eastern European bloc, with emissions up 7.4% since the turn of the century.

The UK is one of the few countries on track with emissions targets.

But a recent report to the British government suggested that even UK emissions were heading in the wrong direction if pollution from shipping and aviation, and the carbon embedded in the imported goods coming into the country, were counted.


"The worst culprit has been Canada. Its emissions since 1990 have shot up 21.3%"

Yes, unfortunately in recent years we have become a petro-nation. We are now America's largest source of foreign oil and as that oil now comes mostly from tarsands our CO2 emissions are up. We also export to China and a few others. Other exports are NG, coal and cheap electricity; the mining refining and production of which are also not clean. This is unlikely to change as long as we have a PM from Alberta.

James White

In response to reel$$, climate models do account for water vapor. CO2 absorbs infrared heat which results in higher air temperatures.Warm air holds more moisture, which then absorbs even more infrared heat.

Andrey Levin

Levels of atmospheric methane actually stabilized over last decade. In graph form last available data is presented here:


Look for yourself.

Nice to see Global Warming peddlers making conclusion of “trend” on one year uptick noise of 0.34%.

One other thingy: “Using the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), the total warming effect of all long-lived greenhouse gases was calculated to have increased … by 24.2% since 1990.”

If it were true, we would be already baked. As it is more and more clear for number of atmospheric scientists, underlying physics of GHG effect is wrong; it is overestimates by 5-10 times.


I wonder why the ozone hole is back, with CFC's on the decrease? Maybe China is making them without telling anyone.

Hey ai_vin, are you a Vancouverite?

You know what I think needs to be studied more? I think some psychologists need to study "global warming denier syndrome" to understand why so many people have such a vile reaction to what is really just basic science.

How is it that such a significant proportion of the population can be so easily swindled by efforts of the likes of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and all the other easily debunked graphs showing supposed "decreased temperatures since 1998", or the observation that 2008 arctic ice has just barely returned to normal levels, as "proof" that AGW is now over?

Is it political frustration vented towards an easily identifiable scapegoat (the IPCC)? Or is it just trendy skepticism? Or maybe it's a latent fear of communism and all the evil little socialist climate scientists that are coming to control everyone.

Whatever it is, global warming denial is not in any way rooted in sound science, and that deserves some scientific study.

Andrey Levin

Ozone is created in stratosphere when solar UV light struck into oxygen molecule. After some time ozone and atomic oxygen recuperates back into O2. Ozone hole occurs naturally when there is no sunlight for long periods, like for couple of months of polar night at South and North poles. It is natural phenomena, occurring every year, and most pronounced over Antarctic, where it is very little ozone transport from “sunnier” regions.

Destructive effects of man-maid CFC were overestimated by factor of ten, according to most recent publications. As a result, marked reduction of atmospheric CFC concentration after adopting Montreal protocol did not prevent formation of biggest on the record (about 30 years) ozone hole over Antarctica in winter of 2007.

Sounds familiar?


Mark of BC wrote: "Hey ai_vin, are you a Vancouverite?"




I agree with you.

Tar-sands GHG may be going down if oil price goes (and stays) much below $50. Half a dozen expansion projects have been delayed or cancelled already.

If in-situ technology was used it would also help to reduce associated GHG and land/water pollution. Oil industry will not do it on its own. A malus/bonus system may be required to accellerate the transition.

If Ontario and Alberta would close their coal power stations it could reduce Canada's GHG by as much as 10%.

Canada has not tried very hard to date. The current recession may do more to curb pollution than our governments did.


Actually the number of scientists openly supporting AGW has dwindled dramatically. And more are speaking out and publishing papers. It is only the "institutions" that receive financing from AGW evangelists that cling to their "consensus" in the face of overwhelming cooling data.

"Global warming of the past century (0.8° C) is virtually insignificant when compared to the magnitude of at least 10 global climate changes in the past 15,000 years."


Prof. Easterbrook paints a clear picture. He is just one of many healthy skeptics. As cooling data continues to support climate tracking solar cycles - the AGW camp sinks further into disfavor - dampening enthusiasm for real conservation and alternative energy policy.

The psych studies are already in. AGW is a badly bungled media campaign based on exaggerated science for the purpose of behavior/policy modification. It has cost some two trillion $$ and has failed to convince scientists and public alike. The failure has caused a crisis of confidence in those behind the campaign - now seen as agenda oriented activists willing to sacrifice scientific method for social goals. Had the campaign chosen a less hypocritical spokesperson than energy guzzling non-scientist Al Gore - it might have stood a better chance. Ah well, everyone stumbles a bit.

All is not lost. There are far more important reasons to quit the petroleum monopoly than CO2. Security, sustainability, foreign policy, energy independence, global conflict and environment are all very real reasons to adopt a broad alternative energy portfolio. Had AGW not bullied its way upon the public with unsound claims - we might have many more green supporters and less skeptics. Let's let AGW die in peace and move on to the real challenge of global energy independence.

On water vapor - when papers chart GHGs they would do well to include water vapor forcings - temperature rise and solar radiative reflection along with the 0.008% anthropogenic CO2 increase.


That's a nice link reel. I like the conclusion:
"Global warming (i.e, the warming since 1977) is over. The minute increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (0.008%) was not the cause of the warming—it was a continuation of natural cycles that occurred over the past 500 years. The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling, perhaps much deeper than the global cooling from about 1945 to 1977. Just how much cooler the global climate will be during this cool cycle is uncertain. Recent solar changes suggest that it could be fairly severe, perhaps more like the 1880 to 1915 cool cycle than the more moderate 1945-1977 cool cycle. A more drastic cooling, similar to that during the Dalton and Maunder minimums, could plunge the Earth into another Little Ice Age, but only time will tell if that is likely."
Sounds very scientific to me... I'm convinced.

You said: "Actually the number of scientists openly supporting AGW has dwindled dramatically."
Apparently your link disagrees with you, pointing out that there is indeed a dominant consensus on global warming:

"The following article represents an alternative view and analysis of global climate change, which challenges the dominant Global Warming Consensus.

You said:
"cooling data continues to support climate tracking solar cycles"
I hear about this all the time but I'm never actually shown a graph or convincing data.

I like how you point out the 0.008% increase in CO2 as a proportion of total atmospheric content, but how you neglect to mention that all of the N2, O2, and Ar which account for about 99% of the atmosphere have no greenhouse properties. Nice....

Paul F. Dietz

Actually the number of scientists openly supporting AGW has dwindled dramatically.

Actually this is false denialist propaganda repeated by useful idiots such as reel$$.

Kind of like the long since debunked howler about water vapor he spewed out earlier.


"The following article represents an alternative view and analysis of global climate change, which challenges the dominant Global Warming Consensus."

True. This disclaimer issued by the publisher of Easterbrook's paper.

In 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus published "On the Revolution of the Heavenly Orbs." The dominant view thereafter was it to be a heretical theory of the universe and it was declared: "False and altogether opposed to the Holy Scripture."

One hundred years later, with the "dominant view" holding fast, Church authorities put Galileo Galilei on trial for refusing to disavow the Copernican heliocentric universe.

Who turned out to be correct?

Robert Pritchett

GLOBAL Warming(tm) was so "last year".

Try these articles I researched and enjoy a long cold winter -



Philip Merlow

"...we do not currently have any convincing evidence or
observations of significant climate change from
other than natural causes."
Frederick Seitz

President Emeritus, Rockefeller University
Past President, National Academy of Sciences
Past President, American Physical Society
Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project

February 2008


Exxon paid Frederick Seitz over $1.1 million so what else could he say? BTW Seitz also worked as a paid consultant to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, denying the link between smoking and cancer. That should be all you need to know.

Philip Merlow

Tobacco: "I've planted it, raised it, cut it, and dried it." Al Gore

Gore's speech to the tobacco industry 4 years after his sister died of lung cancer. Al continued to accept campaign contributions from the tobacco industry and the tobacco farm he grew up on for years after his sister's death.

Dr. Seitz' academic and professional credentials suggest a far higher level of science achievement than Mr. Gore's.

Don't confuse science achievement with ethics.

Philip Merlow

It would be reasonable to say, given both men have taken money from big industry, that the one with bonafide science credentials - exceptional credentials - carries far more credibility than Mr. Gore, whose science credibility is next to zero.


@Robert Pritchett:

You are right. Global Warming is over. But there is a tiny faction of campers who refuse to own up to facts. Your links are outstanding - demonstrating again the enormous catalog of data that show AGW to be a discarded theory.

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