Keeling

Curve

Most noted among climate research

projects was a monitoring station

established in 1958 by the Scripps

Institution of Oceanography on top of

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory.

Mauna Lua Observatory

Scripps geochemist Charles Keeling was instrumental in outlining a way to record CO2 levels and in securing funding for the observatory, which was positioned in the center of the Pacific Ocean.

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1830

Charles David Keeling

American scientist
keeling
curve

Data from the observatory revealed what would become known

as the “Keeling Curve.” The upward, saw tooth-shaped curve

showed a steady rise in CO2 levels, along with short, jagged up-

and-down levels of the gas produced by repeated wintering and

greening of the Northern Hemisphere.

The dawn of advanced computer modeling in the 1960s began to predict possible outcomes of the rise in CO2 levels made evident by the Keeling Curve.

Computer models consistently showed that a doubling of CO2 could produce a warming of 2 degrees C or 3.6 degrees F within the next century.

More Co2 greenhouse gas molecules in the air means more heat is trapped, leading to an overall warming of the planet.

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