A Visual Representation of Atmospheric CO2 (Video)

Published by costrike on

I just learned of this video in class this evening.  It’s a pretty stunning graphical representation of the change in CO2 levels over time.

The left pane shows the distribution of CO2 throughout the atmosphere by latitude with the south pole on the left edge and the north pole on the right.  The right pane displays the Keeling Curve, which shows the global average slowly ticking up.  Global averages show a stair step function as growing seasons of northern hemisphere summers counteract this activity for part of the year.  Unfortunately, it is not enough to counteract a year’s production of CO2.  The activists at Bill McKibben’s 350.org think we should try to stay at or below 350 parts per million, but we’re already approaching 400 ppm with no relief in sight.

The video starts out with data from the 1960s, when Charles Keeling began recording CO2 levels at the Mauna Loa Observatory.  The graph comes forward to present day and then projects back using data from ice core samples.  The video makes it plain to see the impact we’ve had on the atmosphere.  Check it out and please share you thoughts in the comments section below.
Thanks for stopping by!


Update: 9/14/2011

It’s like I always say, “If you wait around long enough, Paul Krugman will solve all of your problems.” Check out Mr. Krugman’s “response” to a commenter’s desire for a scale that starts at zero: “Axes of Evil?