Carbon dioxide levels

heatcarbon dioxidecarbon dioxide


Rise in CO2 | ENSO periodicity | defining ENSO | contrasts | strongest El Niño years | Economic cycles | factor summary


Among the lowest annual emission rates of carbon dioxide in parts per million are these seven out of 45 years:

1960 • 1964 • 1970-1971 • 1974 • 1982 • 1992 • 1999

Graphic 1.

El NINO data CO-2 levels

Table 1.

Comparison of data & climate trends
Year ppm


El Niño


La Niña

  U.S. Economy


recession: 4/60-2/61


moderate warming  


moderate cooler
recession until 11/70


weak cooler  


weak cooler
recession until 3/75


strong warming
recession until 11/82
recession ended 3/91
strong cooler  

ENSO is the El Niño, Southern Ocean oscillation between El Niño or warm wet years in the Americas and La Niña or colder, drier years in the Americas, based on the heat capacity of the Indian Ocean and the failures of the East Indian monsoons that have a periodic frequency.

Graphic 2.

The contrasts between prevailing and anomalous El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean

Normal Elnino

See for a list since 1950s of El Niño and La Niña events.

The annual average increase in carbon in the atmosphere over twenty years (1985-2005) is 1.70 while the forty-five year average increase is 1.39 from 1959-2005.

What factors account for the decline of the ENSO in those eight selected years, or five out of forty-five years?

"For the past several decades, about half of all years have experienced La Nada conditions, compared to about 20 percent for El Niño and 30 percent for La Niña."

"'Neutral infers something benign, but in fact if you look at these La Nada years when neither El Niño nor La Niña are present, they can be the most volatile and punishing. As an example, the continuing, deepening drought in the American West is far from 'neutral,' he said."


Alan Buis,"'La Nada' climate pattern lingers in the Pacific," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA News, September 9, 2013.

ENSO is the El Niño Southern Ocean oscillation meaning the periodic warming and cooling of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean due to its geographical situation with respect to the usually warmer Indian Ocean.
  Graphic 3.  
Indian Ocean Contrasting conditions

East Pacific Ocean
  By sliding the mouse over the graphic compare the changes in mid-ocean during the ENSO cycles.  

El Niño or warm wet years were strongest in:



The Economy.

Recessions in the US: 1948-49 to 2001-02

The years of economic downturns were:

1957-58 for eight months

1960- 61 for eleven months

1969-70 for twelve months

1973-75 for seventeen months

1980 for seven months

1981-82 for sixteen months

1990-1991 for nine months

2001 for eight months

National Bureau of Economic Research

Graphic 2: recession years and climate variability

El NINO data


There were 88 months of recession ( above) in 44 years since 1957 with an average of 11 months duration and sixteen percent of those 43 years were recession periods based on the months during which recessions happened. Red indicates warmer and blue cooler periods.


If recessions affect production of carbon emitting industrial processes, then recessions may account for all but three (1964, 1971, 1999) of the low emission years from 1960-2005.

But do these times of prosperity coincide with high emission rates?

Deforestation rates and vulcanism are also important variables to consider.

There is little positive correlation between economic activity and the response of ENSO cycles to the decline in per capita emissions.

cycle carbon dioxide biomass

By closing the production and exhaust loops reuse would reduce excessive carbon dioxide accumulation.


Ecojustice & climate


US Census Bureau (decennial census data)

Population pyramids - dynamic change

We live within, not on; entwined with the biological wealth of the world.

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Rise in CO2 | ENSO periodicity | defining ENSO | contrasts | strongest El Niño years | Economic cycles | factor summary


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Created August 6, 2008 -- Last Updated on 12-08-2013.

By Joseph Siry