Earth System Trend

Carbon Dioxide

UNIT: Parts per million

Deforestation and emissions from fossil fuels are altering the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Concentrations have increased more than 40% since 1750. This is causing Earth to warm rapidly. Emissions may have a destabilizing effect on the climate. The more we emit, the greater the risk to vulnerable societies and even our global civilization. Politicians have agreed to try to limit warming to two degrees Celsius above the global temperature in 1750. We have already warmed the planet about one degree.

Graph Caption: Carbon dioxide from firn and ice-core records (Law Dome, Antarctica) and Cape Grim, Australia (deseasonalised flask and instrumental records); spline fit.
Source: D. Etheridge CSIRO, Australia; Etheridge et al. 1996; MacFarling Meure et al. 2004 and 2006; Langenfelds et al., 2011.

Caption: Hadong Coal-Fired Power Plant, South Korea
Credit: Google/Landsat 7, NASA
MAP & ANIMATION CAPTION: Simulated CO2 Emissions in 2006
MAP & ANIMATION CREDITS: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / FĂ©lix Pharand-DeschĂȘnes,