Levels of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere aresharply increasing, which means that climate change mayoccur sooner than expected.

Michael McCarthy writes in the Independent that the suddenjump in CO2 can’t be explained by a sudden increase ingreenhouse gases from utilities or automobiles?because therehasn’t been one.

Scientists think the sudden increase may be the beginning ofthe sudden climate change described in “The Coming GlobalSuperstorm” by Whitley Strieber and Art Bell, and the film”The Day After Tomorrow,” which was inspired by their book.

Paul Brown writes in the Guardian that measurements of theCO2 in the atmosphere have been taken for almost 50 years atMauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, because at high altitude,it’s far enough away from any carbon dioxide source to be areliable measuring point. In recent decades, the observatoryhas measured an average increase of 1.5 parts per million(ppm) a year, due to increased burning of fossil fuels. Butthis jumped to more than 2 ppm in 2002 and 2003.

Charles Keeling, who began the observations in 1958, is now74. A character inspired by his work appeared in both thebook and the movie. He says, “It is possible that this ismerely a reflection of natural events like previous peaks inthe rate, but it is also possible that it is the beginningof a natural process unprecedented in the record.”

This feedback phenomenon, which would trigger sudden climatechange (rather than gradual warming), was predicted insupercomputer models. The key is the weakening of theEarth’s ability to remove huge amounts of CO2 from theatmosphere by absorbing it in its forests and oceans.However, computers predicted it would be many years beforethis started to happen.

Environmentalist Tom Burke says, “This series of CO2measurements is the world’s climate clock, and it looks asif it may be ticking faster.”

This could signal theend of the world?at least as we know it.

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