Illustration of Keeling curve

1961 Keeling curve

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Charles David Keeling atmospheric sciences Illustration of Keeling curve

Keeling curve

Continuous measurements of carbon dioxide from California, Antarctica, and Hawaii show diurnal and seasonal variations but also year-on-year increases that match global consumption of fossil fuels. Carbon-dioxide levels since World War II far exceed any level shown in ice cores from the last eight hundred thousand years.

Global warming

Greenhouse gases Ocean acidification Retreating glaciers Rising seas Extreme weather


Small-island nations are in peril. Seas will rise and skies will dry up; if people don’t drown they will starve or die of thirst.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of Monday 8 October 2018 titled “Global Warming of 1.5 °C” warns of dire consequences if world governments do not begin immediately to cut CO2 emissions. “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence).”

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