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In 2023, the Levels of Carbon Dioxide and Methane in the Air Reached Record Highs

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Photo: In 2023, the Levels of Carbon Dioxide and Methane in the Air Reached Record Highs. Source: Pixabay
Photo: In 2023, the Levels of Carbon Dioxide and Methane in the Air Reached Record Highs. Source: Pixabay

In 2023, scientists recorded an exceptionally rapid increase in the levels of gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. This information was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in their report, as reported by The Associated Press.

Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production reached a record level of 36.8 billion metric tons in 2023. This is twice as much as the levels from 40 years ago.

It is also noted that over the past five years, the methane level in the atmosphere has increased by 3% and currently stands at 160% of the pre-industrial level. This indicates that its production rates are higher than those of carbon dioxide.

Methane traps about 28 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, it remains in the atmosphere for approximately a decade, rather than centuries or millennia like carbon dioxide. Additionally, according to the International Energy Agency, the impact of methane on global temperature rise has increased by about 30%, nearly twice as much as that of carbon dioxide.

Sin Lindsey Lan, a scientist from the University of Colorado and NOAA, asserts that about half of the emissions entering the air through smokestacks and exhaust pipes are temporarily absorbed by trees and the ocean, preventing them from entering the atmosphere.

Observations of specific isotopes of methane in the air indicate that most of the increase in methane levels comes from microbes. This confirms that the main source of methane emissions is wetlands, possibly some agricultural lands, and landfills.

"Fossil fuel pollution is warming natural systems like wetlands and permafrost. As these ecosystems warm, they release even more greenhouse gases," says climate scientist Rob Jackson from Stanford University.

The Gaze also reported that the European Union and the United States have agreed to use artificial intelligence to search for substitutes for persistent chemicals widely used in semiconductor manufacturing.

Both sides have committed to studying the potential use of AI in researching alternatives to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in microchips. They believe that such technologies will help identify alternative materials to replace PFAS in semiconductor production.

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