World Atmosphere - Carbon Dioxide Levels

Environment - World Atmosphere - Carbon Dioxide Levels (from Scripps & NOAA)
John S. Stokes III

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the number one greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in terms of effect (quantity x potency)

Monthly CO2 levels (parts per million)
Updated through 2016
Derived from in situ air measurements at Mauna Loa, Observatory, Hawaii

Carbon Dioxide levels continue to relentlessly increase and are thought by many to be contributing to significant changes in the climate, particularly atmospheric warming and increases in ocean levels.
Source file obtained at
This chart is updated once a year after each year's data is in.
Wavy line sourced from column 9 in the data file: monthly "Mauna Loa CO2 concentrations in micro-mol CO2 per mole (ppm), reported on the 2008A SIO manometric mole fraction scale".
This is the "standard version of the data most often sought". Several instances of missing data filled with smoothed data (in column 7 of the data file).
Smoother line sourced from column 10 in the data file, derived from the same source data but with seasonality smooth out.
Daily twitter postings of the CO2 reading is at Twitter Keeling Curve
The website with the latest CO2 reading may be obtained at Keeling Curve

Credits excerpted here from the file's header section
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ppm) derived from in situ air measurements
at Mauna Loa, Observatory, Hawaii: Latitude 19.5° North Longitude 155.6° West, Elevation 3397 meters
Source: R. F. Keeling, S. J. Walker, S. C. Piper and A. F. Bollenbacher
Scripps CO2 Program ( )
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)
University of California
La Jolla, California USA 92093-0244

Zoom out 800,000 years and you get this:
Although there have been substantial variations in the CO2 reading during the past 800,000 years, the number as of late November 2014 is wow-wow-wow.
Chart derived from image at Keeling Curve 800,000 Years
By the end of 2016 the Red Star would almost be off the chart!

Detailed time-lapse video produced by NASA showing how CO2 emissions move in the atmosphere during the course of one year:

Certainly provides a reason why ice has been melting in the Arctic vs the Antarctic

CO2 Emissions by major regions on Earth

© The New York Times
Graphic screen captured from the New York Times' website November 13, 2014


The increase in Carbon Dioxide has been relentless since records have been kept and is increasing at an accelerated pace. Current levels are unprecedented going back over 1/2 million years.

Annual CO2 level changes (parts per million)
Derived from in situ air measurements at Mauna Loa, Observatory, Hawaii

This chart shows that not only is the annual level of CO2 is increasing, but that the rate of increase is trending up
2016 shows the third highest increase following 2015's record increase
See data credits for the first chart for source data

While the United State continues to emit more CO2 on a per-capita basis than China, the United States has made improvements in recent years although much more work is needed.
China's total output is worrisome as their level continues to soar. China needs to dramatically focus on wind and solar and turn away from continuing to build many coal powered plants.

According to the EPA (, the sources of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the United States are:
38% - Electricity Production
32% - Transportation
14% - Industry
9% - Commercial and Residential
6% - Other (Non-Fossil Fuel Combustion)


Green House Gas primer:

Potency - Global Warming Potential: