Scientists gather in Colorado to discuss increasing greenhouse gas
BROOMFIELD ” Hundreds of scientists from around the world will gather next week to discuss the atmosphere’s growing accumulation of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by everything from plant decomposition to coal-burning power plants.
“You’re going to see some of the best researchers and thinkers in this area coming together,” University of Colorado professor James White said of the International Carbon Dioxide Conference.
The conference has been held every four years since 1981, when about 40 scientists attended. This year, about 400 are expected when the conference convenes in Broomfield.
It is the first time the conference has been held in the United States, and it comes at a time of growing public awareness about carbon dioxide, said Britton Stephens, a scientist at the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“It’s stuff the scientists have realized for a while, but it’s starting to grab everyone’s attention that things are changing,” said Stephens, who studies mountain forests’ absorption of carbon dioxide.
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Pieter Tans, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, said carbon dioxide is the main source of human-caused climate change, “and its increase is unrelenting.”
Tans, the principal organizer of this year’s conference, said ice-core data shows the current global carbon-dioxide concentration, averaging 380 parts per million, is higher than it has been in about 700,000 years.
It was roughly 280 parts per million before the industrial era.
A climate model created by NCAR has estimated that atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations of 650 parts per million by 2100 would lead to an average global warming of about 4 degrees and a rise in seas of about 3 feet.
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