Carbon Dioxide

LATEST MEASUREMENT:
LATEST ANNUAL AVERAGE:
November 2017
407.22 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 graph shows atmospheric CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, in recent years, with average seasonal cycle removed. The second graph shows CO2 levels during the last three glacial cycles, as reconstructed from ice cores.

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 (average seasonal cycle removed). Credit: NOAA
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PROXY (INDIRECT) MEASUREMENTS

Data source: Reconstruction from ice cores.
Credit: NOAA
data graph

Time Series: 2002-2016

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