Analyze the changes in concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide using historical records.

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Recent Trends:

▪       Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been measured at the Mauna Loa atmospheric observatory in Hawaii from 1958 and has since been measured at a number of different locations globally

▪       The data shows that there is an annual cycle in CO2 concentrations which may be attributable to seasonal factors, but when data from the two hemispheres is incorporated, it suggests that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen steadily in the past 30 years (Keeling curve)

 

Long Term Estimates:

▪       Carbon dioxide concentration changes over a long period of time have been determined by a variety of sources, including analyzing the gases trapped in ice – air bubbles (and thus providing a historical snapshot of atmospheric concentrations)

▪       Data taken from the Vostok ice core in Antarctica shows that fluctuating cycles of CO2 concentrations over thousands of years appear to correlate with global warm ages and ice ages

▪       It is compelling to note that CO2 levels appear to be currently higher than at any time in the last 400,000 years

 

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