A record-smashing hurricane season in the central North Pacific. Water rationing in Puerto Rico. The biggest one-year jump in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. These and more of 2015's extreme events had one thing in common: El Niño.
For 800,000 years before the twentieth century, carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere never exceeded 300 parts per million. In March 2015, the monthly average went above 400 ppm for the first time.
Charles Keeling's measurements of carbon dioxide from the summit of Mauna Loa have become a landmark for mankind’s impact on the Earth. In this video, NOAA scientists talk about the history of the observations that allow us to connect Earth's warming climate to the greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
Every year hundreds of scientists from scores of countries team up to give the Earth's climate a comprehensive physical. Edited by NOAA scientists and published by the American Meteorological Society, the State of the Climate in 2015 draws on tens of thousands of observations of everything from forest fires to fish migration to catalog climate variability and change.
It is virtually certain our world will continue to warm over this century and beyond. The exact amount of warming that will occur in the coming century depends largely on the energy choices that we make now and in the next few decades.
From the African savanna to North America’s boreal forests, NOAA’s CarbonTracker tool provides insight into what natural and human processes affect the uptake, release, and transport of carbon dioxide in Earth’s lower atmosphere.