Climate Change

COP26: 6 charts to help you understand climate change

An atmospheric scientist explores the key driving forces behind climate change and the impact it's having on the planet. Image: UNSPLASH/Mika Baumeister

Betsy Weatherhead
Senior Scientist, University of Colorado Boulder
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a chart showing how how much the CO2 concentration increased each year from 1960 to 2020
Image: Chart: The Conversation/CC-BY-ND Source: NOAA Global Monitoring Lab
a chart showing how long CO2 stays in the atmosphere
How long does CO2 stay in the atmosphere? Image: Chart: The Conversation/CC-BY-ND Source: Pieter Tans

a chart showing climate history: 500 million years before the present, to the present day
When carbon dioxide levels have been high in the past, evidence shows temperatures have also been high. Image: The Conversations, Based on Salawitch et al., 2017, updated with data to the end of 2020, CC BY
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a chart showing how temperatures have risen over time around the world
Temperatures have risen over time around the world. Image: The Conversation/CC-BY-ND Source: NOAA

a chart showing how sea level has risen in coastal cities around the world
Sea levels have risen in costal cities around the world. Image: Chart: The Conversation/CC-BY-ND Source: Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
a diagram of the earth highlighting a high-emissions scenario for climate change
Based on SSP3-7.0, a high-emissions scenario. Image: Claudia Tebaldi, et al., 2021

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Related topics:
Climate ChangeSDG 13: Climate ActionThe Net-Zero TransitionFuture of the EnvironmentClimate IndicatorsClimate and Nature
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