Space Needle Image

Seattle's CO2 Footprint


In 2009, the global average carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in Earth’s atmosphere was about 0.0387% by volume, or 387 parts per million by volume (ppmv). Despite its relatively small overall atmospheric concentration, CO2 is an important component of Earth’s atmosphere because it absorbs and emits infrared radiation resulting in a phenomenon known as the Green House Effect. Cities are local hotspots for emissions resulting from human activities. Working together with the Pacific Science Center and Seattle’s Space Needle, NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has installed a carbon dioxide sensor on the top of the Space Needle to examine the variability in atmospheric CO2 over Seattle.

Plot of atmospheric CO2 at Space Needle:



To learn more about how to read the plots or interpret what you are seeing, click on the links on the left hand side of the page.

Instrument developed by A. Jenkins, C. Cosca, S. Jones, and C. Sabine (NOAA/PMEL) with support from the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center. Figures provided by S. Jones (NOAA/PMEL). Text developed by C. Sabine and S. Jones (NOAA/PMEL).