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The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide record: lessons for long-term Earth observations

January 1, 2009

The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide record is an iconic symbol of the human capacity to alter the planet. Yet this record would not have been possible without the remarkable work of one man, Charles David Keeling. We describe three emergent themes that characterized his work: (1) his desire to study and understand the processes that control atmospheric CO2 and the global carbon cycle, (2) his campaign to identify and minimize systematic measurement error, and (3) his tenacious efforts to maintain continuous funding despite changing government priorities and institutions. In many ways, the story of the Mauna Loa record demonstrates that distinctions between research and “routine” measurements are not very useful in long-term monitoring of Earth properties and processes.

Publication Year 2009
Title The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide record: lessons for long-term Earth observations
DOI 10.1029/2009GM000913
Authors Eric T. Sundquist, Ralph F. Keeling
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70046069
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Eastern Region