Atmospheric CO2 Record from Direct Chemical Measurements During the 19th Century

  • Paul J. Fraser
  • William P. Elliott
  • L. S. Waterman

Abstract

In a paper published almost 50 years ago Callendar (1938) suggested that, during the period 1900 to 1935, a 6% increase in atmospheric CO2 occurred as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels. He calculated that approximately three-quarters of the anthropogenically produced CO2 remained in the atmosphere, which induced a global warming of 0.1°C and accounted for most of the increase observed in the available long-term temperature records. The calculated atmospheric CO2 increase was based on a few observations (Brown and Escombe 1905) that, Callendar suggested, indicated a background CO2 level in 1900 of 274 ± 5 ppmv (parts per 106 by volume). As pointed out by Keeling (1978a), it is difficult to see how Callendar arrived at such a low concentration from the Brown and Es-combe data, and, from a later analysis of additional data sets (Callendar 1940, 1958), he revised his estimate of a late 19th century background CO2 level to be 288 to 290 (±3) ppmv. From a more rigorous statistical analysis of 19th and 20th century CO2 data, Slocum (1955) questioned whether concentrations had increased, and Bray (1959) showed that a significant increase is observed only when highly variable data are removed from the observations.

Keywords

Annual Cycle Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide World Meteorological Organization Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration Interhemispheric Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Fraser
  • William P. Elliott
  • L. S. Waterman

There are no affiliations available

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