`Concentration of green house gases reach their highest level`

The concentration of green house gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide among others - have reached their highest levels despite the global economic crisis.

Geneva: The concentration of green house gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide among others - have reached their highest levels despite the global economic crisis and enveloping recession in the industrialized countries, the World Meteorological Organisation said Wednesday.

In its latest 2009 Green House Gases Bulletin issued today, WMO said that in addition to rising emissions of CO2, there is a sudden spurt in the concentration of methane CH4.

"Greenhouse gas concentrations have reached record levels despite the economic slowdown," said WMO Chief Michel Jarraud, arguing that they would have been even higher without the international action taken to reduce them.

"After nearly a decade of no growth, atmospheric CH4 has increased during the past three years and most of the emissions are occurring from natural sources," he maintained.

Methane contributes nearly 20 per cent to the overall global radiative forcing which is the balance between radiation coming into the atmosphere and radiation going out.

While the positive radiative forcing will result in warming the surface of the earth, the negative forcing has the effect of cooling the planet.

Suprisingly, the rise in the concentration of Methane is attributed to natural variation rather than increased economic activity.

"Potential methane release from northern permafrost, and wetlands, under future climate change is of great concern and is becoming a focus of intensive research and observations," Jarraud said.

WMO`s latest data showed that "the globally averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide reached new highs in 2009, with CO2 at 386.8 ppm, CH4 at 1803 ppb, and N2O at 322.5 ppb."

It said these values are much higher than what they were before the industrial revolution.

As regards the level of emissions last year, WMO said it is not mandated to address this issue.

However, the rising concentration of green house gases is a cause for worry as they could accelerate the climate change, sources said.

PTI

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