World Atmosphere - Nitrous Oxide Levels

Environment - World Atmosphere - Nitrous Oxide Levels (from NOAA)
John S. Stokes III

Nitrous Oxide is the number three greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in terms of effect (quantity x potency)

Annual Nitrous Oxide levels (parts per billion)

Global Nitrous Oxide Levels by Month
Chart obtained from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
Chart updated here each year, usually in late January


Zoom out 800,000 years and you get this:
Chart obtained from United States Environmental Protection Agency - the link no longer works


Since the levels of Nitrous Oxide have been monitored starting in the late 1970's, the data shows a relentless mostly linear increase.

February 2, 2024: The chart dated August 30, 2023 was recently posted. The uptrend continues.

January 31, 2023: The chart dated October 7, 2022 has been posted. The uptrend continues. These charts are not updated as quickly as they used to on the noaa website.

January 20, 2021: The chart dated January 19, 2021 has been posted. The acceleration is back as the overall presentation of increase remains clear.

January 21, 2020: The chart dated January 17, 2020 has been posted. Last year's slight acceleration backed off - the overall presentation of increase remains quite linear.

March 18, 2019: The chart produced by NOAA today has been posted - looks like there has been a slight increase in the rate of increase.

January 22, 2018: The chart produced by NOAA in January 2018 has been posted - The gradual increase continues at about the same linear rate since the late 1970's.

According to the EPA ( the sources of Nitrous Oxide emissions in the United States are:
75% - Agricultural Soil Management
6% - Industry or Chemical Production
5% - Stationary Combustion
5% - Other
5% - Manure Management
4% - Transportation

While the trend is up, the rate of increase is far less than CO2 and there is no huge stockpile of stored Nitrous Oxide to be unleashed if the trend continues, the way there is with Methane.