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As the leading greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is one of the atmosphere’s most closely watched ingredients. The scrutiny began in 1958 when a young geochemist named Charles Keeling began regularly measuring CO2 atop a massive Hawaiian volcano—and discovered some intriguing patterns.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).