CO2 is steadily rising

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been monitored for over forty years. These measurements show that the carbon dioxide levels have increased every year. Carbon dioxide is known to be a greenhouse gas, which means that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could lead to global warming. This could have serious environmental consequences for the entire world. Scientists also think that humans may be responsible for the increases, from such things as cars, industry, and the burning of the rainforests. If this is the case, we may be doing irreversible harm to the environment. The annual fluctuations in the graph above are due to the seasons. During the fall and winter, vegetation stops growing and decays, leading to higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the air. Vegetation then begins to grow during the spring and summer, absorbing some of the atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Credit: NOAA/Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Carbon Cycle Group

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