Questions tagged [carbon-cycle]

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29 views

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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1answer
67 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 CO2 for about a century ...
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1answer
36 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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1answer
97 views

Could we sequester co2 by dumping forests in deep oceans?

We know that trees are the most efficient "tool" we have to get CO2 out of the air, but the problem is that most of their fixated CO2 will naturally reenter the carbon cycle through decomposition. ...
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1answer
43 views

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 CO2 and H2O and the latter does the reverse but obviously not ...
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1answer
51 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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1answer
60 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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38 views

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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1answer
176 views

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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1answer
167 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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2answers
164 views

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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1answer
219 views

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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1answer
48 views

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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2answers
325 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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1answer
87 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
110 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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46 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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1answer
49 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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2answers
657 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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1answer
108 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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2answers
126 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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3answers
344 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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6answers
8k 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 CO2 to the atmosphere? Or is the carbon uptaken by termites and bacteria, preventing its release to the atmosphere?
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1answer
423 views

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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2answers
502 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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1answer
246 views

Is it possible that a reduction in vegetation is a cause of global warming?

A lot of people seem to believe that the entire cause of global warming is that humans are emitting lots of carbon dioxide. However, according to a source I found online (I accept it may not be ...
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Locate people by Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide levels [closed]

I've been challenged to think of some really out-of-the-box ways to locate people, and I had one. I'm 90% sure this isn't reasonably possible (probably only in laboratory settings), but I couldn't ...
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810 views

How did plants adapt to $\small\sf{CO_2}$ levels past 400k years? Why won't they do it again?

(Description from climate.nasa.gov: This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric $\small\sf{...
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4answers
1k views

Are all natural diamonds made of organic carbon material?

I've read that diamonds are created at a depth of about 180 km. By volcanic activity it comes above. But did plants and trees of 300 million years ago sink so deep? Or is it possible that inorganic ...
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1answer
389 views

What is the distribution of global photosynthesis?

Has anyone attempted to classify global photosynthesis? For example, what percentage of it occurs over land? What percentage comes from agriculture? Same questions for total growth of plant mass. ...
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1answer
118 views

What is the evidence it is feasible to reverse ocean acidification by adding large quantities of a base (bicarb soda)?

A commenter made the following reflection: Ocean acidification is different than sea level rise and global warming, however. With ocean acidification, we're making an excursion unlike anything the ...
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4answers
5k views

Why has CO2 decreased in the history of the Earth?

I noticed that the $\ce{CO2}$ is actually decreasing in the eon time. My guess is lush vegetation or forests began to grow which absorbed the $\ce{CO2}$ by photosynthesis? Would anyone give me any ...
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2answers
12k views

What is the difference between a carbon sink and a carbon reservoir?

I am trying to figure out the difference between a carbon sink and a carbon reservoir. The definition for a carbon sink from wikipedia is that “carbon sink is a natural or artificial reservoir that ...
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1answer
141 views

Timescale of the biological pump?

I'm tying to find any clue about the timescale of the biological pump. That the carbon is recycled to the surface ca. 1,000 years is clear but the timescale of the biological pump seems hard to find. ...
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4answers
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Why do we recycle paper?

Recycling metal and some plastics makes complete sense to me. Why bury something in a landfill that you'll have to find and dig up more of later. What I don't get is why we recycle paper products, ...
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143 views

Sources of $\ce{CO_2}$ during Carboniferous period

It is believed that during the Carboniferous period, fungi and bacteria lacked the biochemical means to decompose lignin and release $\ce{CO_2}$ back to the atmosphere. So dying trees carbon became ...
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1answer
231 views

Hypotheses about Silurian carbon isotope excursions?

The Silurian Period is now known to have undergone several significant positive $\delta^{13}C_{carb}$ excursions, namely the early Aeronian, Late Aeronian, Valgu, Ireviken, Mulde, Lau & Klonk ...
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1answer
853 views

How is carbon distributed among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt fossil fuels?

In relation to my other question about carbon cycle and climate change, i would like to know some estimates of the carbon distribution among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt ...
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2answers
888 views

To stop anthropogenic climate change, is it necessary to stop extracting petroleum and start pumping carbon under ground?

The amount of carbon (C) on Earth is constants. As far as i understand, all carbon that is not found in the atmosphere or the oceans in the form of CO2 or CO is stored either in the biomass (plants, ...
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4answers
37k views

How many trees would I have to plant to solve Global Warming?

According to Nasa, causes of the Earth's greenhouse effect include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs. Carbon dioxide gets the most press, and NASA's page says: Carbon ...
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1answer
125 views

Does the heating of the oceans due to greenhouse effect negate the acidification due to increased CO2 levels?

As I understand, the dissolving of carbon dioxide leads to increased acidification of the oceans, and thus increased atmospheric CO2 levels would lead to more dissolution in the oceans and thus ...
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1answer
127 views

Estimate litter production

How would one go about estimating litter production (fine root turnover, leaves, etc.) for a forested area? I have some estimates from literature - which were derived from models, but I'd like to ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the status of the Raymo & Ruddiman idea that Tibet cooled the Earth?

What is the current status of the Raymo & Ruddiman hypothesis that the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau during the Cenozoic cooled the Earth, resulting the current ice age(*)? cf. Raymo, M.E. and W....
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1answer
59 views

Do river fluxes help contribute to long-term carbon sequestration?

Rivers help transport sediment from higher regions into the oceans (where it's hard to get back into the atmosphere). And this sediment could be carbon-rich.
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568 views

Does vegetation contribute to long-term carbon sequestration?

So we know that vegetation sequesters carbon dioxide into its leaves. Much of this carbon sequestration is temporary, since when the plant dies, much of it is released as CO2 back into the atmosphere. ...
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3answers
4k views

How were we able to measure carbon dioxide levels in earlier climates?

It is said that carbon dioxide levels were much higher during the Cretaceous and Eocene periods: which proxies are used to determine paleo-pCO2?
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156 views

How much carbon is sequestered out of the atmosphere through marine snow?

Marine snow in the deep ocean is a continuous shower of mostly organic detritus falling from the upper layers of the water column. How much carbon is sequestered in this process? How does it compare ...