MathBench > Climate Change

Keeling Nails Carbon Dioxide

Do the fluctuations change?

The next interesting question is, do the fluctuations in CO2 change over time? Keeling couldn't answer that in his first paper in 1960, because he only had 3 years worth of data. But 50+ years later, we can definitely provide some answers.

Are the yearly fluctuations constant across time?

  • I need a hint ... :
    Measure the height of the yearly peak in two places -- towards the beginning and towards the end of the dataset. Rollover the graph for help...

I think I have the answer: Yes, they stay about 7ppm.


Is the year-to-year increase consistent across time?

  • I need a hint ... :
    You could measure the increase again, but let's do something simpler -- just connect the peaks every ten years and look at the slopes of the lines. Rollover the graph to see this one, because it's not easy to visualize.

I think I have the answer: The year-to-year increase is speeding up – the slope of the line is increasing.

Currently CO2 is increasing by about 2.5 ppm per year -- over 6 times faster than when Keeling first started his measurements.