How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect The Earth – Carbon sustains life. It is the basis of all the building blocks of life: the nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids that make up our cells. Carbon is also at the heart of one of our planet’s most pressing problems: climate change Carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere are at unprecedented levels, trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Microbes are another player in the climate. They change the state of carbon and store carbon, releasing carbon into the atmosphere, oceans and ecosystems. Climate change shapes microbes and microbes shape the climate
- 1 How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect The Earth
- 2 Climate Explained: Why Carbon Dioxide Has Such Outsized Influence On Earth’s Climate
How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect The Earth
Most of the Earth’s carbon is stored in rocks and kerosene (from which petroleum and natural gas are produced), the rest in ocean water, organisms and the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be captured by photosynthetic organisms such as plants. CO
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It can also spread to the ocean, where it is absorbed into the organisms and food webs there
This carbon flow has been predicted so far (see Figure 1). By burning fossil fuels we add an additional amount of carbon to the atmosphere. In other words, we are releasing carbon much faster than the rate at which carbon is stored in the carbon cycle
Much of the carbon sequestration takes place in the oceans, where about 45% of the CO2 released by humans is captured. And microbes, despite their small size, have a lot to do with it
When atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans, photosynthetic bacteria and eukaryotes take it up and convert it into biologically useful forms. Through a process called carbon fixation, part of photosynthesis, marine organisms incorporate carbon into their molecular building blocks with two major impacts: the ocean and ultimately the atmosphere.
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Microscopic organisms called phytoplankton are thought to be responsible for creating 50-85% of the Earth’s oxygen through photosynthesis, along with one microbe, cyanobacteria.
, responsible for about 5% of all photosynthesis on Earth. The name phytoplankton comes from the Greek words phyton (plant) and plankton (traveler or wanderer), because these photogenic, single-celled microorganisms float in the ocean. There are both prokaryotic and eukaryotic phytoplankton, such as diatoms and dinoflagellates.
Microorganisms introduce carbon into the food web by serving as food for more complex organisms. When other organisms consume these microscopic organisms, that carbon is transferred to larger organisms, which carry the carbon in their bodies or leave it as waste in the ocean or after the death dissolve. Most of the carbon in the food web resides in the top 100 meters of the ocean, where it can eventually return to the atmosphere.
However, a fraction of the carbon in the food web eventually sinks to deep waters as ‘marine snow’, dead animals, algae and waste materials that are unusable by other organisms. When this happens, carbon is more likely to be stored in the oceans than released into the atmosphere. When carbon reaches a depth where it cannot be returned to the surface for more than hundreds of years, the carbon is considered a sequester.
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The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has serious consequences for ocean food chains, through two main factors: ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures. An increase in CO2 in the atmosphere causes more CO2 to dissolve in the ocean, lowering the ocean’s pH. In addition, the heat captured by atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, raising their average temperature.
These changes have varying effects on microorganisms, with many of the same consequences: reduced carbon sequestration.
The ocean’s pH drops to a point where the organisms’ shells can begin to disintegrate and dissolve. Plus, it’s difficult to grow shells in the first place. Organisms build their shells using carbon dioxide, which becomes less available due to ocean acidification (see Figure 2).
Fewer phytoplankton in the ocean means the amount of CO2 sequestered in the ocean is reduced, reducing the rate of carbon sequestration in the long term.
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. Prochlorococcus is responsible for about 5% of all photosynthesis on Earth, so environmental changes that alter Prochlorococcus could have additional effects on the climate.
Lack of the catalase enzyme, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, a byproduct of many biological processes that is toxic.
Requires different behavior When researchers from Columbia University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Tennessee tested it
This means less carbon in the ocean enters the food web, leading to less carbon sequestration.
Climate Explained: Why Carbon Dioxide Has Such Outsized Influence On Earth’s Climate
Marine bacteria are also more active at higher temperatures. While phytoplankton sink in the ocean, zooplankton and bacteria can eat the phytoplankton before they reach the seabed. Consuming phytoplankton means that carbon molecules from phytoplankton are more likely to be released as CO2.
In a study at the University of Tanya, researchers collected samples of phytoplankton decay and measured microbial respiration at temperatures above 10°C to assess the effects of warming temperatures on carbon. Using an expected warming of 1.9°C by 2100, they calculated that carbon sequestration could be reduced by 17 ± 7%.
These examples show how microbial cycles can create damaging feedback loops: warmer temperatures reduce microbial populations or reduce carbon sequestration capacity, leading to further temperature increases. On the other hand, scientists are investigating whether iron fertilizers can increase microbial carbon sequestration: the intentional introduction of iron into iron-poor seawater to stimulate phytoplankton growth. The intended result? Accelerate the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere
Iron is often a limiting nutrient in many parts of the ocean; There is evidence of large phytoplankton blooms that may be due to elevated iron levels. Adding enough iron to promote microbial activity in the sea, without putting too much effort into causing a phytoplankton bloom, can help counteract high CO.
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Iron fertilizer is not a new concept In the 1930s, biologist Joseph Hart hypothesized that areas of the ocean’s surface that appeared rich in nutrients could not support plankton activity. The later oceanographer John Martin hypothesized that increasing photosynthesis by phytoplankton could reduce global warming by capturing CO2.
However, experiments with iron fertilization have not yet demonstrated increased carbon sequestration. Penny Chisholm, the biologist who discovered Prochlorococcus, is also skeptical. Increasing the flow of carbon into the ocean can inadvertently alter bottom food webs, as phytoplankton blooms can take over the blooms of other organisms that can release carbon back into the atmosphere. Therefore, there is no benefit in terms of long-term carbon storage And with small and short-term experiments such as Iron X I. It is difficult to predict the long-term global consequences of iron fertilizers.
This makes it difficult to find solutions for storing carbon in the oceans. We cannot prevent changes in one part of the ocean from affecting other parts of the ocean. Conditions in one part of the ocean can be completely different. than in another, or conditions in one area may change from night to day or from day to day. This only underlines the importance of considering these parameters both in space and in time. just beginning to understand these things on a global scale
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Dr. Jennifer Tang works in science communications and marketing and writes a microbiology blog called ‘Mbiotic Menagerie’. He is a Ph.D. In microbiology: the study of bacterial motility By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we increase the planet’s natural greenhouse effect and turn the dial on global warming.
The greenhouse effect is a good thing It warms the Earth to temperatures that sustain life on Earth Without it, Earth would be like Mars: a frozen, uninhabitable place The problem is that burning fossil fuels for energy artificially increases the natural greenhouse effect increases. The result? An increase in global warming that is changing the planet’s climate system Here’s a look at what the greenhouse effect is, what causes it, and how we can moderate its contribution to our changing climate.
The greenhouse effect is the natural warming of the earth, caused by gases in the atmosphere trapping heat from the sun that would otherwise escape into space. This process was identified by scientists in the 19th century
Sunlight and the natural greenhouse effect make Earth habitable. While about 30 percent of the solar energy (the light and heat from the Sun) that reaches our world is reflected back into space, the rest is absorbed by the atmosphere or Earth’s surface . This process, which takes place continuously all over the Earth, heats the Earth. This heat is then sustained in the form of invisible infrared radiation. Although some of this infrared light is absorbed in space, most of it is absorbed by atmospheric gases known as greenhouse gases, which create more heat.
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But higher concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially carbon dioxide (CO2), cause additional warming.
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