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Atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory


These graphs show carbon dioxide measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. The graphs display recent measurements as well as historical long term measurements. The related website summarizes in graphs the recent monthly CO2, the full CO2 Record, the annual Mean CO2 Growth Rate, and gives links to detailed CO2 data for this location, which is one of the most important CO2 tracking sites in the world.

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Climate Literacy
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Our understanding of climate
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Humans affect climate
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • On the website, at the bottom of the page, are data sources listed in the event that educators want to reproduce the graph or have students manipulate the data.

About the Science

  • The Mauna Loa CO2 data are being obtained at an altitude of 3400m in the northern subtropics and represent the longest existing continuous record of CO2 since methodical measurements began in 1958 during the International Geophysical Year (IGY).
  • The famous "Keeling Curve" shows the seasonal change of CO2 concentration due to the vegetation growth and is central to any discussion of climate change.
  • Additional information can be found at http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/home/index.php
  • Comments from expert scientist: The graphs are visually appealing and information is clearly presented. The data sources and methodology of calculating the CO2 concentrations are described very well and references are provided for additional information. The video of CO2 concentration history is especially neat.

About the Pedagogy

  • These up-to-date figures display the relevant data very well.

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