These first records of rising CO2 levels were taken in the 1950′s by Charles David Keeling of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Even then scientists were aware of the green house effect created by CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. Keeling tracked the increasing levels of CO2 for decades, but it didn’t take long for him to link the rising CO2 levels with the burning of fossil fuels. Although it was known that the burning of fossil fuels created CO2, it was widely believed that the ocean absorbed all of that excess carbon dioxide. Keeling was the first person to prove that CO2 was accumulating in the atmosphere, as it still is today.
In “The Scientific Case for Urgent Action to Limit Climate Change,” Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography presents a case based on some of the initial measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere taken by Keeling.
In this video, Somerville further explains this research and his ideas for how to reduce the emissions causing climate change. If you want more information on climate change and ocean science, check out the “Perspectives on Ocean Science” series.