What does this program measure?
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is measured in parts-per-million (ppm) and reported in units of micromol mol-1 (10-6 mol CO2 per mol of dry air). Measurements are directly traceable to the WMO CO2 mole fraction scale.
How does this program work?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) in ambient and standard air samples is detected using a non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) analyzer. The measurement of CO2 in air is made relative to reference standards whose CO2 mixing ratio is determined with high precision and accuracy. Ambient air samples are bracketed by a pair of reference standards every hour to correct for non-linearity in detector response.
Why is this research important?
Mauna Loa observatory has grown to become the premier long-term atmospheric monitoring facility on Earth and is the site where the ever-increasing concentrations of global atmospheric carbon dioxide were discovered.
Are there any trends in the data?
Please note: Much more information is available from the ESRL GMD Carbon Cycle - Greenhouse Gases group. The results below are a small sample of the results available at that site.
How does this program fit into the big picture?
What is it's role in global climate change?
The NOAA ESRL GMD Carbon Cycle-Greenhouse Gases group (CCGG) conducts research to understand the global carbon cycle and its effects on climate. At CCGG measurements are made to determine baseline levels, trends and causes of variability of several atmospheric gases (carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide), that have the potential to affect global climate.
Comments and References
NOAA In Situ Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Measurements