Questions tagged [carbon-cycle]

Questions about the absorption and release of carbon due to natural biogeochemical processes, and human interactions with the carbon cycle.

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Is it possible to reliably infer the anthropogenic contribution to the post-industrial rise in $\ce{CO2}$ from $^{14}\ce{C}$ observations?

There have been several papers [failures of the review process] that have argued that the post-industrial rise in atmospheric $\ce{CO2}$ is primarily a natural phenomenon, or have sought to minimise ...
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2 votes
1 answer
59 views

When is the carbon stored in fossil fuels released back to the atmosphere under natural conditions?

On which time scale is the carbon stored in petroleum and black coal released back to the atmosphere under natural conditions? Exploiting fossil fuels and burning them releases the carbon today, but ...
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0 answers
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How does carbon dioxide accumulate in the upper atmosphere if it is heavier than air [duplicate]

I am not a scientist but how does carbon dioxide make its way to the upper atmosphere form fossil fuel burning if it is heavier than oxygen (air), especially as the air is thinner in the upper as you ...
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Alternative natural explanations for rise in atmospheric CO2? [duplicate]

I am in no way a climate-change skeptic, nor a denier. Motivated by this question and some articles I read online: Are there any known natural processes beside human activities that are able to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
50 views

Can Hydrocarbons be beneficial? [duplicate]

Do these “fossil fuels” underground help maintain homeostasis in microbial ecosystem or aid in the growth of flora etc? Or are these substances: coal, animal remains and natural gas detrimental even ...
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4 votes
2 answers
539 views

When would the earth run out of carbon dioxide without man made climate change?

One of my friends told me quite seriously that Gaia had evolved humans to burn the fossil fuels and thus stop the earth running out of CO2. Leaving aside the obvious nonsense it did raise an ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Atmospheric $\ce{CO2}$ fell at a Pleistocene interglacial-glacial transition. Ocean absorption vs biosphere absorption

CO2 levels fell during the last interglacial-glacial transition until the Last Glacial Maximum in the Pleistocene. I can think of two causes for the reduction of CO2: Ocean absorption. The ...
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it possible to convert carbon dioxide into a solid at low cost?

Is it possible to reduce the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by converting it into a solid, thus reducing the level of greenhouse gases?
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2 votes
1 answer
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What are the risks of developing geoengineering?

Wikipedia page for geoengineering entry list a lot of proposals to decrease global temperature: Solar radiation management methods[5] may include: Surface-based: for example, surface-based mirror ...
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3 votes
1 answer
96 views

For a tree over its entire existence, does it actually have a net negative effect on atmospheric CO2?

A tree while alive converts CO2 + water -> carbohydrates + O2. However, once the tree dies, it decays, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere. My question is, over an individual tree's overall ...
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2 answers
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Forest fuel biochar burial

Record fires are blazing in the west coast, huge even compared to California's notorious summers. Dead plants and debris are crucial to get a fire started. This debris could be collected, carbonized, ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
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Are rainbows a reaction from earths natural release of gas after a rain? [closed]

In my studies, Ive dropped a limestone or porous stone into water, with salt and sugar. The results where an impressive light show of color flashes. With the Earths natural release of gas, these ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How does the act of producing animal feed from the leftovers of a process result in a negative carbon footprint? [closed]

According to this source, it is claimed that (emphasis is mine) At Arbikie Distillery in Angus, scientists claim to have developed the world's first "climate positive" gin. By using garden ...
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1 answer
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How much of the petroleum ever formed has made it into reservoir rocks?

I am aware that it's a bit general a question, and petroleum geology (or petrology ;-)) has never been a field of interest to me. A superficial search using related keywords brings up only economic ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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CO2 probe measuring at temperatures up to 150 °C [closed]

I'm looking for a $CO_2$ measuring probe (analog current output, digital out: RS232/485 - probe will be connected and transferring real time data to the data logger) that would operate up to 150 °C (...
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1 answer
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Is CO2 in the Pacific Ocean depleted or enriched in Carbon-13 compared to the Atlantic, and why?

Due to thermohaline circulation, the Pacific water is more 'aged' so there is a higher amount of total dissolved inorganic carbon (e.g. CO2) in the deep Pacific when compared to the Atlantic. However, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
337 views

How do the slow and fast carbon cycles influence climate change?

I understand that the slow and fast carbon cycles are involved in the transport and storing of carbon, but how much of an influence do each of these cycles have on climate change, and how?
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2 votes
0 answers
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Ocean Acidification - The effect of CO2 concentration on the pH of the ocean [duplicate]

I'm confused about how increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere affects the pH of the ocean. The increase in CO2 concentration means the pH of the ocean will decrease (by several chemical rxns). ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

The effect of CO2 concentration on the pH of the ocean

I'm confused about how increased $\ce{CO2}$ concentration in the atmosphere affects the pH of the ocean. The increase in $\ce{CO2}$ concentration means the pH of the ocean will decrease (by several ...
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7 votes
4 answers
311 views

Where did all the CO₂ come from that was deposited as coal during the Carboniferous?

During the Carboniferous, vast deposits of coal (or peat at that time) were created because – as far as I understand – decomposition of wood (white rot?) was not yet "invented" at that time. This ...
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1 vote
4 answers
1k views

Can anyone explain the reason why CO$_2$ increases global temperatures (not the simplistic greenhouse analogy provided for public consumption)?

The greenhouse effect analogy of global warming is that atmospheric carbon dioxide CO$_2$ absorbs some of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth, and redirects a portion of that radiation back ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is the ocean a carbon sink when considering only the biospheric component?

Most people knows that the ocean overall is a carbon sink, but a big part of the sink is due to chemical equilibrium (via dissolution) with the atmosphere (for ref: https://link.springer.com/article/...
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About climate sensitivity of carbon dioxide: today compared with PETM

Due to IPCC the climate sensitivity of CO₂ very likely is 3.0 ± 1.5 ℃ for each doubling of the concentration of atmospheric CO₂. Counting on earlier global warming using the Arrhenius formula [ΔT=λ·...
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3 votes
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How does extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contribute to radiative forcing?

The CO2 absorption spectrum taken at 200 mmHg partial pressure, beam path length = 10 cm, resolution = 4 cm^-1 shows that light can only travel a couple hundred meters before being completely absorbed ...
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2 votes
5 answers
744 views

If planting trees is ineffective to tackle climate change, why do people plant them?

I've read answers that outline how if we afforested large (continental-scale) masses of land, it would do little in the way of tackling climate change. While it would sequester $\small\mathsf{CO_2}$ ...
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2 votes
1 answer
125 views

What is the total mass of organic carbon on Earth?

What is the estimated total mass of organic carbon plus elemental carbon (defined here as all carbon in any chemical form, minus carbon dioxide, inorganic carbonates, and other fully oxidized carbon ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Could we sequester CO$_2$ by dumping forests in deep oceans?

We know that trees are the most efficient "tool" we have to get CO$_2$ out of the air, but the problem is that most of their fixated CO$_2$ will naturally reenter the carbon cycle through ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Is the net amount of CO2 sequestered by trees from the atmosphere simply related to the mass of new growth?

My simplistic model for the carbon cycle was that plants (or trees in particular) photosynthesise and transpire. The former takes up $\small\mathsf{CO_2}$ and $\small\mathsf{H_2O}$ and the latter does ...
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2 votes
1 answer
78 views

Net fluxes of carbon caused by humans

The current and future amount of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere and the hydrosphere is what currently concerns and occupies many people. I am looking for a big picture of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
70 views

What would be the extent of the feedback on climate of unattended deaths event?

Being given that decaying corpses will stop emitting digestive metane, but would release huge amount of methane during their decaying process, I was wondering if this could be considered among the ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Can CO2 / greenhouse gas levels override the effects of milankovich cycles?

I understand that we are, in all likelihood, towards the end of an interglacial period (the holocene). What I'd like to know is, what has a stronger effect on global temperatures - the low point of ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is "Carbon Neutral" (roughly) 5 Gt CO₂ equivalent?

One key target set out by the IPCC is to be carbon neutral by 2050. That is, the gross green house gas emissions of Humans is less than the carbon absorbed. I'm struggling to find a good source for ...
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3 votes
1 answer
267 views

Why doesn't Earth absorb our carbon emissions?

If we look at the carbon cycle, we see that man-made carbon emission only account for a tiny fraction of all $\text{CO}_2$ emissions. However, we see a steady rise in atmospheric $\text{CO}_2$-levels....
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5 votes
2 answers
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Why did the carboniferous period have so much atmospheric oxygen?

Even if all the carbon dioxide (which makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere) in the air were sequestered by plants, would the atmosphere not remain about 21% oxygen? Why did the carboniferous period ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Which percentage of $\text{CO}_2$ emissions are human made emissions?

I was watching a science/myth Youtube channel (science mixed with a lot of speculative/fantasy content) with 2M+ followers and the Youtuber said volcano made emissions were higher than human made ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Are there any consequences to carbon capture and storage that also sequesters oxygen?

A big argument for carbon capture and storage is true reversal; while switching to renewable energy and eliminating CO2 emissions is a must, it will not reverse the massive movement of carbon from ...
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6 votes
2 answers
353 views

What is the relevance of Arctic coastal erosion to the Earth's climate?

Due to global warming and Arctic amplification, Northern Hemispheric permafrost is thawing and becoming a source of carbon and many greenhouse gases, which then positively feedback to global warming ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can reforestation sequester our annual carbon emissions? [duplicate]

Forests sequester and store substantial amounts of carbon every year, while each year humans emit substantial amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Is it possible for forests to sequester as much ...
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2 votes
1 answer
236 views

How much net carbon can coral sequester?

So I am wondering how much carbon any given coral can sequester given that carbon dioxide dissolves in water and forms carbonic acid, and coral uses that carbonic acid in their own calcification ...
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9 votes
1 answer
736 views

Carbon's role in ocean acidification

This might seem like a basic question, but I'm a little confused about the effects on ocean acidification of different carbon compounds. I have heard that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
60 views

Could we plant enough trees to offset greenhouse gas emissions? [duplicate]

In 2014, the world emitted 10 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. A 50 year old oak tree forest sequesters 30,000 pounds of CO2 per acre. At that rate of sequestration per acre, offsetting all ...
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2 votes
1 answer
54 views

Effect of reducing conditions on melting point

I've been reading a paper(*) looking at the deep carbon cycle and it mentions a key process that the authors refer to as "redox melting". According to the paper, reducing conditions increase the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
767 views

Polar Ice caps are melting? Questions on enviromental impact

The polar ice caps are melting at a significant rate partly due to the albedo effect, releasing greenhouse gas-methane into earth’s atmosphere. At the same time we are logging our forests for ...
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4 votes
1 answer
250 views

What caused the Carbon Dioxide Variations observed in the 800,000-year polar ice record?

I have seen several graphs showing the prehistoric temperatures and CO2 concentrations derived from ice-core data. My understanding is that CO2 and temperature correlate. I assume that Milankovich ...
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6 votes
2 answers
167 views

Will photosynthesis based carbon sequestration always be more efficient than other chemical means - in terms of rate?

There seem to be many ideas for carbon sequestration. The problem with anything electrochemical, is that unless it is solar-based, you're putting carbon into the atmosphere at probably a great rate ...
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10 votes
3 answers
421 views

Did climate cool down when underground hydrocarbons stocks formed?

As far as I understand, the dominant theory of modern climate change says that recent warming is mainly caused by the massive burning of hydrocarbons that used to be stored in solid form mostly ...
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8 votes
7 answers
17k views

Does organic decay release the same CO2 as burning?

Does a fallen tree left to decay release essentially all of its stored carbon as $\small\mathsf{CO_2}$ to the atmosphere? Or is the carbon uptaken by termites and bacteria, preventing its release to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Estimating the residence time of atmospheric CO2 from bomb 14C

This (rather dodgy) graph shows a number of estimates of the residence time of atmospheric CO2: My question concerns why there is so much variation (Machta, 1974 about 3 years, Seuss and Druffe, 1983 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
162 views

Carbon dioxide and ocean acidification based on temperature

For our assignment, we are required to analyse and compare the $\ce{CO2}$ level (in both ocean and air) of two different sites. Theoretically, shouldn't the $\ce{CO2}$ level of a colder region (e.g., ...
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-5 votes
2 answers
657 views

Why cannot people burn all the atmospheric oxygen? [closed]

We are told that photosynthesis, developed a couple of billion years ago has produced all the atmospheric oxygen. I wonder, why did the process stop? Why do modern plants prefer to recover the entropy ...
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