Daily Archives: May 14, 2014
Since 1958, a continuous measurement of the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has been made at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. These observations were initiated by Charles Keeling, who died in 2005, and have been maintained by his son Ralph ever since.
Sunshine is a manifestation of solar radiation and when it is absorbed by the surface of the Earth, the surface heats up and emits a different kind of radiation, known as infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide is a special chemical in that it is transparent to solar radiation and yet it absorbs infrared radiation. Thus, the presence of carbon dioxode in our atmosphere allows sunshine to penetrate to the surface but inhibits the emission of infrared radiation to space.