Math Forum - Problem of the Week

Mauna Loa

The Mauna Loa Observatory at 11,000 feet elevation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sits in a prime spot for measuring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere without local contamination. Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, the observatory has been measuring CO2 levels (in parts per million) since 1958.

Monthly measurement data for 1975 through 1988 are given in these files to download using Fathom or Excel or tab-delimited text.

Using just these data, predict the CO2 level for your birthday in the current year. Document your method of prediction well enough that someone else could read your documentation, follow your methodology, and come up with a similar prediction.

Download this Fathom file or view this site with recent data for Mauna Loa and estimate how far off your prediction is, and describe the reasons behind whatever mismatch there is.

Use the submit link below to get hints and also chances to revise.

© 1994-2010 The Math Forum