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Regional Focus


Global Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide Concentration

Authors: Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College
Subjects: Science, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, Math
Resource Types:
  • Interactive Media
  • Data
  • This interactive chart allows students to explore the global atmospheric concentration of nitrous oxide (N2O) over time.
  • The chart can be customized to show a specific date range (starting in 1750) and can be downloaded.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource is easy to use and uses data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE).

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a line graph.


  • This resource could be useful when addressing sustainability, the ozone layer, and the impacts of industrial farming.
  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with math classes when working with the data and graphs.
  • Other resources related to this topic include: Nitrous Oxide Emissions by Sector and Nitrous Oxide Emissions
  • Questions that students might be interested in researching include:
    • How potent is nitrous oxide as a greenhouse gas?
    • How much nitrous oxide is released from fertilizer and livestock waste lagoons?
    • How does fertilizer use contribute to eutrophication and dead zones?
    • How potent is nitrous oxide as an ozone-damaging gas?
Scientist Notes

This resource depicts a time series data on average atmospheric concentration of N2O. Datasets acquired from EEA  is accurate and the resource is recommended for teaching. 

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.B.6 Evaluate reports based on data.
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