Carbon Dioxide

LATEST MEASUREMENT: Sep 2014
398.58 ppm

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions. The first chart shows the CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere during the last three glacial cycles, as reconstructed from ice cores. The second chart  right shows CO2 levels in recent years, corrected for average seasonal cycles. 

The time series below shows global distribution and variation of the concentration of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million (ppm). The overall color of the map shifts toward the red with advancing time due to the annual increase of CO2.

Missions that observe CO2

Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)

Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2)

DIRECT MEASUREMENTS: 2005-PRESENT

Data source: Monthly measurements (corrected for average seasonal cycle). Credit: NOAA


Time Series: 2002-2014

Data source: Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS).
Credit: NASA
September
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2002
2014

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