The fiftieth anniversary of the global CO2 record, begun by Charles David Keeling at the South Pole and in Hawaii during the International Geophysical Year (IGY; 1957–1958), will be celebrated at a symposium in Kona, Hawaii, near the Mauna Loa Observatory, on 28–30 November 2007.
At the time of Keeling's initial efforts, little was known about CO2 in the atmosphere and no reliable atmospheric record existed. Indeed, many scientists were not certain that one could detect meaningful patterns such as seasonal changes, hemispheric differences, and fossil fuel emissions with measurements of such a low-concentration constituent of the atmosphere. The early measurements by Keeling began what was to become a coordinated global monitoring network involving scientists and agencies from countries around the world. Information derived from this network—which now includes many greenhouse gases, isotopes, and other tracers—has been crucial for informing national and international assessments of global climate change, not the least of which are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.