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The Keeling Curve Marks 50 Years of Charting Greenhouse Gases


Aired 4/19/09

Maureen Cavanaugh: It's fair to say that Charles David Keeling didn't realize what he was starting when he first began to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. After establishing that carbon dioxide rates were fairly consistent around the world, he wanted to see if they remained consistent from year to year. They did not…they rose. Each year the readings were a little higher, yielding a curve. The Keeling Curve has become the scientific iconography of the rise in greenhouse gases, a major factor in global warming.

This week marks the Keeling Curve’s 50th anniversary , and here to tell us more about its scientific significance and the battles it still encounters is Ralph Keeling, who carries on his father's work.


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