One climate-related headline you will read in 2018 is a dead cert: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reach levels unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. That’s an easy prediction, given emissions are non-zero and this gas stays aloft for centuries.
What is more concerning is the rate of growth of carbon dioxide. It appears to be accelerating despite the recent dramatic slowing in annual emissions from human activity. The strong El Niño of 2015 and 2016 explains some of this acceleration. That’s because this vast warming of waters in the tropical Pacific leads to drought in tropical regions and natural carbon release. But in 2018, with El Niño gone, scientists will be watching for signs that land and ocean stores of carbon are adding to this.
On the flipside, we are unlikely