The Human Impacts Database

A collection of useful numbers for quantifying the impacts of the human presence on Earth.

Pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration

Atmospheric & Biogeochemical CyclesCarbon Dioxide

This quantity comes from a time series measurement and the most recent value (1 - 1750) is reported.


This is equivalent to...

≈ 2.8 × 10-4 mol CO2 mol-1 air

HuID: 30912
Relevant Year(s): 1 - 1750
Summary: Pre-industrial concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), inferred from ice core records. Here, pre-industrial is defined as any time in the current era before year 1750. Data record is taken from the referenced publication, but builds on many prior original studies. The original studies are referenced in the primary source. Consult "Atmospheric CO2 concentration" for atmospheric measurements since 1964.
Method: Data presented are constructed as spline fits from Law Dome ice cores, firn air, and Cape Grim instrumental (de-seasonalised archive, in situ and flask) records of CO2 concentrations for the past 2000 years. Measurement precision for the ice core air samples is 1.1 ppm CO2. Measurement precision for the firn air samples is 0.1 ppm CO2.
Source: MacFarling Meure, C., D. Etheridge, C. Trudinger, P. Steele, R. Langenfelds, T. van Ommen, A. Smith, and J. Elkins. The Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O Ice Core Records Extended to 2000 years BP. Geophysical Research Letters (2006)
Dataset: Ice core measurements of CO2, CH4 and N20 atmospheric concentration (/ice_core_measurements_co2_ch4_n2o.csv)
global resolution
Original Data License: CC-BY 4.0
Added By: ilopezgo