In this activity, students are provided with mean atmospheric CO2 concentration from the Mauna Loa observatory from 1950 to the present. This dataset and associated exercise can be used to teach introductory calculus and topics in differentiation such as  polynomial differentiation, tangent line problem, and curve fitting amongst others.

About the Tool

Tool Name Mauna Loa Yearly Average CO2
Discipline Mathematics
Topic(s) in Discipline Differentiation; Polynomial Differentiation; Tangent Line Problem
Climate Topic Climate and the Anthroposphere; Climate Variability Record
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Language English
Developed by Thomas J. Pfaff, Ithaca College
Hosted at Sustainability Math
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


Image : Mauna Loa Observatory in snow

Image Courtesy of Mary Miller, Exploratorium