The ice in the Arctic has set a new wintertime low for the second year in a row, at 1.12 million sq km lower than the average for 1980 to 2010, reports NASA scientists.

Carbon is being released into our atmosphere at a rate that far exceeds the last known mass carbon release event, 56 million years ago. The release of carbon – the cause is not known – was at the rate of 1 billion tons of carbon a year over 4,000 years  – but in 2013 alone, humans released 10 billion tons of carbon, on top of the natural carbon cycle, and that rate continues.
Scientists have been looking for a period in our history where the release of carbon may have equalled what we are doing in the Anthropocene in order to see how the Earth may respond to current warming, but nothing comes close to the massive geological upheaval caused by human activity in the last 60 years.

The New Scientist reports on the highest ever annual rise in CO2 levels, as recorded at Mauna Loa in Hawaii in February.


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