Hawaii's Big Island
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Carbon dioxide levels pass symbolic mark

10 May 2013 Last updated at 23:20 BST

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark.

Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time.

The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958.

The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago - before modern humans existed.

Science editor David Shukman explains.