CO2 Now


What the world needs to watch

Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

To help the world succeed, makes it easy to see the most current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and keep an eye on CO2.  Invite others to do the same. Then we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.

Watch CO2 now and know the score on global warming, practically in real time.

@mospheric Post | April 22, 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Earth's CO2 Newsletter

April 22, 2012   

Year 3 | Edition 1





What a Wonderful World

  * BBC Video narrated by David Attenborough

CO2 Check Up

  * The latest CO2 measurements
  * CO2 Trend
  * CO2 Level
  * CO2 Rate of Change
  * Data Sources

Global Numbers for Global Thinkers

  * What CO2 Was
  * What CO2 Should Be
  * Where CO2 is Headed
  * Where Global Temperature is Headed
  * World Population

May As Well Laugh

An Easy Thing to Do

What's Up with CO2Now?

About @mospheric Post

  * What's Up with @mospheric Post?
  * Editor's Note
  * Production


What A Wonderful World

Watch this 2 minute video.  Ponder the beauty of life on Earth and the sustenance it provides.  



CO2 Check Up

Check out the latest CO2 numbers.  See the scope and direction of changes in the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface.  The planetary changes noted here are caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels.  


The Latest CO2 Measurements 

Atmospheric CO2 in March 2012 

Earth’s atmospheric CO2 level averaged 345.45parts per million in March 2012.
Measurements were made by NOAA-ESRL at the Mauna Loa Observatory. 


CO2 Trend  

CO2 Trend as of March 2012 


CO2 Level

Concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere (2002 – 2012)

CO2 Table for Earth Day 2012
CO2 is measured in parts per million (ppm).   See the source annual, monthly and weekly data.  

CO2 Rate of Change 

March Atmospheric CO2: Decadal Average Year-Over-Year Rate of Change (1963-2012) 

March Decadal CO2 Rate of Change
*CO2 is measured in parts per million (ppm).   
Increases in the atmospheric CO2 level continue to accelerate from decade to decade. 


Data Sources 

CO2 data in this section originates from the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) in the United States.  Reported rates of change are calculated by using NOAA-ESRL data.  All data originates from measurements taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, USA.  

Global Numbers for Global Thinkers

This section puts the current CO2 data into context with the following comparison numbers.  They tell a story about the changes that are happening to the atmosphere and global climate system.    


What CO2 Was   |   172 - 300 ppm

TitanicFor at least 2.1 million years, until just recently, Earth's atmospheric CO2 level fluctuated between 172 ppm and 300 ppm.   Ice ages happened when the CO2 level was low.  The Earth warmed when the CO2 level was high.  The science behind these numbers is discussed in the Science Daily article Carbon Dioxide Higher Today Than Last 2.1 Million Years.  Information for accessing the paper published in Science is found here.   

The Titanic sank April 15, 1912.  Did you know that the concentration of CO2 was passing through the 300 ppm threshold at that time – for the first time in at least 2.1 million years?  Check the 1909 and 1915 ice core measurements (by the University of Bern) at the Siple Station, Antarctica.    


What CO2 Should Be   |   <350 ppm 

Science is the best source for answering questions like these.  The long answer is found in this 2008 paper:  Target Atmospheric CO2:  Where Should Humanity Aim?  For those who want to know the major conclusion, here is an excerpt:  

If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed
and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest
that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm...If the
present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding
irreversible, catastrophic effects.


Where is CO2 Headed?   |   885 ppm 

As of December 9, 2011, atmospheric CO2 was projected to reach 885 ppm by 2100.   Projections account for the latest greenhouse gas emissions and pledges of high-emissions countries.  They are made with the scientifically-reviewed C-Roads simulator.  See the future scoreboard at


Where is Global Temperature Headed?   |   4.5 Degrees C

When all projected greenhouse gas levels are accounted for, included CO2 at 885 ppm, projects a rise in global temperature of about 4.5°Celsius by 2100.  This is a mid-range projection.  Global temperature is projected to be at least 2.7°C and as high as 7.1°C.  

2100 Global Temperature Projection

To know what these numbers mean, read Impacts on Systems and Sectors by the International Panel on Climate Change.  Or, get a copy of Six Degrees by Mark Lynas.

By the way, global temperature in March 2012 was 0.46C higher than the March average over the last century (1901 – 2000) and still higher than global temperatures before the Industrial Revolution.  March 2010 is the 16th warmest March since the start of the instrument record in 1880.  March 2010 is the warmest and March 1898 is the coolest.  See the global temperature report for March 2012 in NOAA’s State of the Climate report for that month.


World Population   |   7 Billion

Since the last Earth Day, the population of humans surpassed 7 billion.  To read more about the link between population and the environment (and climate), visit  


May As Well Laugh

A scientist and a denier walk into a bar...'A climate scientist and a climate change denier walk into a bar. The denier says, bartender, show me your strongest whiskey. The bartender says, this one here. It's 95 percent alcohol. The denier slams down his fist and leaves the bar in a hurry. The scientist says, you know, that's the problem with these guys. You show them the proof, and they still don't buy it.'

Winning submission in the 2012 NPR Joke-A-Thon


An Easy Thing to Do


CO2   Atmospheric CO2   Atmospheric CO2 data   Atmospheric CO2 data

These are more than static graphics.  They are website widgets that change every month.  They always display the most current data for atmospheric CO2.  If you have a website or a blog – or you know someone who does – use a website widget from to raise awareness about the CO2 level and trend.  When we bring attention to the problem, we provide a starting place for a lot of people to learn about it and how they can help turn things around. 

CO2Now widgets are installed on more than 500 websites worldwide.  By adding a CO2Now widget to your site, you help CO2Now get closer to the goal of having widgets on 10,000 websites before atmospheric CO2 hits 400 ppm.  Go ahead.  Pick one of the widget options and install the code today. 


What's Up with

In case you are interested, work is happening behind the scenes to re-organize and re-launch   Subscribers to @mospheric Post will be the first to know about the relaunch. 


About @mospheric Post

What's Up with @mospheric Post?

The last publication of @mospheric Post was May 30, 2011.  The newsletter stalled due to limited volunteer resources.  Regular publication will start again after is relaunched.  The vision is to cement @mospheric Post  as a bulletin that delivers the most current and important planetary data to global-thinking subscribers.  The aim is to produce a newsletter with engaging content that is universally relevant to subscribers around the world.  If this is a project you would like to lead or be part of, expressions of interest are welcome at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Editor's Note

Thank you for giving your attention to the changes in the Earth’s atmosphere and global surface temperature.  As you learn more about the Earth, you make yourself better able to make and support the kinds of changes that can preserve the conditions “to which life on Earth is adapted.”  I look forward to the day when @mospheric Post can report numbers that are pointed in a planet and people-friendly direction.  

  Michael McGee

  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


This Earth Day Check Up edition was produced by Michael McGee, creator of

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