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Carbon dioxide is at its worst

    Atop a 40-meter tower at the Mauna Loa Observatory are a dozen tubes, each measuring about a quarter-inch in diameter. Those tubes collect air and direct it to instruments that measure carbon dioxide levels. The data are analyzed and sent to mainland facilities, including a NOAA facility in Boulder, Colo., where scientists study the data’s implications and how they fit into the global picture.

  • Reaching this average daily level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, officials say, is an indicator showing that efforts to curb the world-wide warming trend are faltering. It is the highest daily average ever recorded.

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