Video courtesy of the NSF.
Past Matching of Global Temperature and CO2 Levels
Earth's global climate has been warming for the past 150 years. The main cause of this warming is an increase in the
concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. In the past, global average temperature and carbon dioxide levels have changed in sync. When CO2 levels were high, temperature was high. When
CO2 levels were lower, temperature was reduced. What does
CO2 have to do with global temperature? Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It warms Earth via the greenhouse effect. When there is more
CO2, the greenhouse effect is stronger, so global temperature rises.
Right-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) here to download a copy of this video in QuickTime format.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, available in our online store
, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.
You might also be interested in:
Earth’s climate is warming. During the 20th Century Earth’s average temperature rose 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F). Scientists are finding that the change in temperature has been causing other aspects of our planet...more
Energy from the Sun can enter the atmosphere, but not all of it can easily find its way out again. This is a natural process called the greenhouse effect. Without any greenhouse effect, Earth’s temperature...more
Carbon dioxide is a colorless and non-flammable gas at normal temperature and pressure. Although much less abundant than nitrogen and oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, carbon dioxide is an important constituent...more
Less than 1% of the gases in Earth's atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Even though they are not very abundant, these greenhouse gases have a major effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor (H2O),...more
Leaders from 192 nations of the world are trying to make an agreement about how to limit emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mitigate climate change, and adapt to changing environmental conditions....more
Climate in your place on the globe is called regional climate. It is the average weather pattern in a place over more than thirty years, including the variations in seasons. To describe the regional climate...more
Television weather forecasts in the space age routinely feature satellite views of cloud cover. Cameras and other instruments on spacecraft provide many types of valuable data about Earth's atmosphere...more