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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)

Index Terms

  • 3305 Atmospheric Processes: Climate change and variability

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 183, PP. 27-35, 2009

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

E. T. Sundquist and R. F. Keeling

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.

Citation: Sundquist, E. T., and R. F. Keeling (2009), The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide record: Lessons for long-term Earth observations, in Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 183, edited by B. J. McPherson and E. T. Sundquist, pp. 27–35, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2009GM000913.

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