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Anthropogenic Climate Change

  • By: Mathieu Richaud
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In 2008, climate scientists celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Keeling Curve, one of the iconic images of science, rivaling the double helix or Darwin's sketches of finches. March 1958 marked the inception of the historical recording of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at a small observatory on top of Hawaii's Mauna Loa. As the measurements progressed over the years, Dr. Keeling noted a steady increase of about 1.5 ppm (parts per million) per year (Figure 1). His plot provides clear evidence that carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere as the result of mankind's use of fossil fuels, turning speculations about increasing CO2 from a hypothesis into a fact.

The World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ...

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