Atmospheric CO2 concentration hits record high in South Korea in 2021


The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in South Korea hit a record high last year, with the level of atmospheric methane also registering a sharp increase, a meteorological institute said on Tuesday.

The level of CO2 in the air, measured from the country’s oldest observation station on Anmyeon Island, 124 kilometers southwest of Seoul, averaged 423.1 parts per million in 2021, according to a climate report from the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences.

The figure marks the highest point since relevant data began to be compiled in 1999 and an increase of 2.7ppm from the 2020 average. The average annual increase in atmospheric CO2 level over the last decade was 2.7 ppm.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations, observed in the village of Gosan on the southern island of Jeju and the southeast island of Ulleung, stood at 421.5 ppm and 420.8 ppm, up 2.6 ppm and 2.8 ppm over the previous year, respectively, according to the report.

The latest figures are all above the global average CO2 concentration of 414.7ppm.

Last year, the country also experienced a sharp increase in the atmospheric concentration of methane, a primary greenhouse gas far more potent than CO2.

The level of methane in the air, observed from Anmyeon Island, averaged 2,005 parts per billion in 2021, up 22 ppb from the previous year.

The corresponding figures measured from Gosan and Ulleung Island were 1,982 ppb and 1,988 ppb, up 14 ppb and 16 ppb from a year ago.

Compared to the level of atmospheric methane observed on Anmyeon Island in 1999, the 2021 figure marks an increase of 128 ppb.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet, with CO2 and methane being among the main contributors of greenhouse gases, along with nitrous oxide. (Yonhap)

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