The BBC takes a long look at the importance of the Keeling Curve — the name given to a decades-long assessment of the level of carbon dioxide in the air.

The curve is named for the late Charles David Keeling, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 1957, Keeling began measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide for decades at Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii — and in the process discovered that the greenhouse gas was steadily building up in the atmosphere.

The BBC says:

His very precise measurements produced a remarkable data set, which first sounded alarm bells over the build-up of the gas in the atmosphere, and eventually led to the tracking of greenhouse gases worldwide.

“It wasn’t until Keeling came along and started measuring CO2 that we got the evidence that CO2 was increasing from human activities,” says Professor Andrew Watkinson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia. “The graph is iconic from a climate perspective.”


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