Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA

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By the early 1970's this curve was getting serious attention, and played a key role in launching a research program into the effect of rising CO2 on climate. Since then, the rise has been relentless and shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that 57% of fossil-fuel emissions remain airborne. Here the number 57% was selected to fit the curve at the ends of the record, but what is significant is how well this link with fossil-fuel burning also fits the curvature in the record, sloping upwards less rapidly at the beginning, and more rapidly at the end.

 MLO record with fossil fuel