Earth System Trend
UNIT: Parts per billion
Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, over one hundred years. Its concentration in the Earth's atmosphere has risen dramatically since the start of Industrial Revolution. The main sources are agriculture and livestock production but burning fossil fuels also produces substantial amounts of the gas.
Graph Caption: Nitrous oxide 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; MacFarling Meure et al. 2004 and 2006; Langenfelds et al., 2011.