How global surface temperature, ocean heat and atmospheric CO2 levels have risen since 1960
THE record of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels started by the late Dave Keeling of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography is one of the most crucial of the data sets dealing with global warming. When the measurements started in 1959 the annual average level was 315 parts per million, and it has gone up every year since. To begin with it went up by roughly one part per million per year. Now it is more like two parts per million per year. The figure for 2011 is 391.6. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means a stronger greenhouse effect, and various measurements speak to this. Global surface temperature records show a warming over the same period, though because of fluctuations in the climate, air pollution, volcanic eruptions and other confounding factors the rise is nothing like as smooth. A steadier rise can be seen in the heat content of the oceans, measured in terms of the energy stored, rather than the temperature.