How Does Co2 Affect The Environment – When it comes to global warming, many people are not quite sure what to believe. But what is really going on? How do we know that these changes to our planet are in any way related to human activity or human-made influence? There are those who believe that global warming is caused by changes in the Earth’s natural behavior that can be catastrophic. The rest belong to the category that global warming is caused by humans. So why are people to blame for this controversy? Why is the finger pointed at those who pollute our planet? How do we know these changes have occurred? How can we define global warming? Global warming is an increase in the Earth’s temperature due to greenhouse gases caused by an increase in pollutants such as carbon dioxide.
Charles David Keeling began measuring CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels in 1953 in Pasadena, California. As he collected data each day, he began to notice a certain pattern. The concentration of CO2 increased overnight and leveled off at about 310 ppm (parts per million), which he found strange. After some research, he found that this was due to CO2 being released from civilization through the use of vehicles and machinery, and also due to the local respiration of plants in the area (Respiration is the conversion of sugar into energy. photosynthesis and metabolic processes, where CO2 and water are removed oxygen is released). These factors changed the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, so it had to be placed in a new location where vegetation and anthropogenic factors did not affect its data.
How Does Co2 Affect The Environment
In 1958, Keeling moved to Mauna Loa near the volcano, where an observatory was built to collect real levels of CO2 in the environment. Below is a diagram of CO2 in the atmosphere:
Posts Mislead On How Co2 Affects Earth
In the graph on the left, CO2 has increased over the years. CO2 is not decreasing but increasing very fast. Note that there are small zig-zags on the graph, related to the seasons. For example, CO2 decreases in the spring and summer when plants take CO2 from the atmosphere and use it for growth. In the fall and winter, plants begin to decay and die, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere, creating a peak and zig-zag pattern. The graph on the right shows the cracked part of this zig-zag.
As the Earth warms, plants move to cooler temperatures and better habitats. This place is on the north side, the ice is melting and the ice is opening up space for plants to take over. Let’s not forget that the albedo also changes due to the melting of the ice (albedo is the reflection of light from the surface). Yes, light reflects off the ice and cools the earth so if the land where the ice melts is taken over by plants there is no light reflection there and this can cause the earth’s temperature to rise.
So what happens when we start removing trees from the ecosystem? First, we need to understand that trees act as huge carbon sinks where carbon dioxide is used and stored for long periods of time, which is good because we remove CO2 from our atmosphere, but what about when a forest is cut down? When a forest is cut down, CO2 is released back into the atmosphere, which is not good for the environment.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lets sunlight and heat into the atmosphere but prevents it from escaping, allowing plants and animals to live on Earth. What do you say? Yes, by trapping heat it prevents the earth from freezing from the sun, so we have a greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide and other gases. Now let’s think about it for a minute, how does increased CO2 affect our planet? An increase in CO2 in the atmosphere therefore traps more heat and increases the Earth’s temperature. Although most of the Earth’s carbon is found in the geosphere, carbon is found in all living things, soil, sea and atmosphere. Carbon is the basic building block of life, including DNA, proteins, sugars and fats. One of the most important carbon compounds in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide (CO
Visualizing Global Per Capita Co2 Emissions
), in rocks, carbon is the main component of limestone, coal, oil and gas. Carbon flows in the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere through processes including photosynthesis, fire, fossil fuel combustion, weathering, and volcanism. By understanding how human activities have altered the carbon cycle, we can explain much of today’s climate and ecosystem change and why this rapid change is occurring at a rate unprecedented in Earth’s history.
The carbon cycle is an important part of the functioning of the earth system. Click on the image to the left to open the Understanding Global Change infographic. Find a symbol of the carbon cycle and identify other Earth system processes and phenomena that cause or affect changes in the carbon cycle.
Carbon moves between the ocean, atmosphere, soil and organisms over time, from hours to centuries. Photosynthetic plants on land, for example, extract carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, and those carbon atoms become part of the plant’s structure. As plants are eaten by herbivores and herbivores are eaten by predators, carbon moves up the food web. At the same time, the respiration of plants, animals and microbes produces carbon dioxide (CO
). When organisms die and decompose, carbon is released into the atmosphere or added to the soil with their remains. Burning biomass in fires also releases large amounts of carbon stored in plants back into the atmosphere.
Indicator: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Over long periods of time, significant amounts of carbon move between rocks, the ocean, and the atmosphere, typically thousands to millions of years. For example, the decomposition of rocks removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The resulting sediment, together with organic matter, can be transported (entrained) from land and sink to the seabed. Carbon atoms here are also CO carbon atoms
) shells made by algae, plants and animals. These shells are buried. When successive layers of sediment are compacted and cemented, they become limestone. Over millions of years, these carbon-rich rocks can experience enough heat and pressure to melt, causing their carbon to be released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Some of these rocks are also exposed at the surface through mountain building and erosion, and the cycle begins again. Carbon in the mantle (see plate separation) is also released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide during volcanism.
Carbon is also transferred from the biosphere to rock through the formation of fossil fuels over millions of years. Fossil fuels come from the decay of photosynthetic organisms, including plants on land (which produce mainly coal) and plankton in the oceans (which produce mainly oil and natural gas). When buried, this carbon is removed from the carbon cycle over millions to hundreds of millions of years.
Human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, has greatly increased the transfer of carbon from the earth back into the atmosphere and oceans. Coal is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide hundreds of thousands of times faster than it is buried, and much faster than it is removed through the carbon cycle (eg through weathering). In this way, carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere, increases the average temperature due to the greenhouse effect, and dissolves in the seas, causing ocean acidification.
Climate Change Indicators: Ocean Acidity
A simple diagram showing some of the pathways that carbon dioxide travels through the Earth system and the overall increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 2004 to 2013.
The rate and distribution of carbon in the Earth system is affected by a variety of human activities and environmental phenomena, including:
Below is a model of the Earth system that includes some of the processes and phenomena associated with the carbon cycle. These processes operate at different rates and at different spatial and temporal scales. For example, carbon moves between plants and animals in relatively short periods of time (hours to weeks), but human activities and the burning of fossil fuels have altered the carbon cycle for decades. In addition, processes including weathering and volcanism affect the carbon cycle over millions of years. Can you think of more cause-and-effect relationships between parts of the carbon cycle and other processes in the Earth system?
Click on the terms in bold (such as burning fossil fuels, the greenhouse effect, and climate) on this page to learn more.
Carbon Footprint Of Tourism
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