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16 votes

Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

No, greenhouse gases do not absorb infrared radiation from the sun... the Earth is really the source of infrared. The amount of infrared energy from the sun that reaches Earth is insignificant. ...
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16 votes
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How did CO₂ originate on Earth before there was life?

The answer is Volcanos. There might be other inorganic processes capable to produce $\text{CO}_2$, but on Earth, the main inorganic source of $\text{CO}_2$ are volcanoes. In some period of Earth's ...
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15 votes
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Does rain (temporarily) deplete the surrounding atmosphere of carbon dioxide?

Here is the mass-calculation. We will consider a column of the atmosphere with a footprint of 1m × 1m. This column weighs about 10,000 kg (per square metre). In these days of climate change we will ...
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14 votes
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CO2 emissions per calorie (food)

I answered this question on SustainableLiving.SE. Since no one voted to close this as off-topic, I'll link and summarize my answer here. I'm glad you asked for it by calorie, since answers on that ...
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13 votes

Is the Mauna Loa CO$_\mathsf{2}$ record affected by the nearby mantle plume?

How is ist possible that Mauna Loa Observatory is the International Reference Observatory for CO2 Global Meassurments I don’t know that it is ‘the International Reference Observatory’. The Mauna Loa ...
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13 votes
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Is volume of air increasing as CO2 levels increase?

[Major edits below] In short the answer is NO. Before we get into volume changes, I have to say that volume is a tricky measure to apply to the atmosphere as a whole, because there is no clear limit ...
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12 votes

Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

As I understand it, greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun. That's not correct. The atmosphere is more or less transparent to the incoming solar radiation. About 29% of the incoming ...
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11 votes
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Does climate change cause increase in CO2?

One reason is that we know exactly where the current increased CO2 comes from. That is, we know from economic data how much petroleum, natural gas, & coal is extracted and burned. From that ...
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11 votes
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Which percentage of $\text{CO}_2$ emissions are human made emissions?

First of all, the amount of carbon cycling trough the Earth's system is irrelevant to the discussion of the changes in atmospheric $\text{CO}_2$ concentration or ocean acidification. In the same way ...
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9 votes

Carbon dioxide on Mars, Venus and Earth

Firstly, Mars is farther away from the sun than Venus or Earth, so it gets less heat from the sun. Secondly, Venus & Earth are volcanically active, whereas Mars is volcanically inert. Thirdly, the ...
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9 votes

Are Ice Ages Affected by the Freezing Out of CO2 in Antarctica?

The freezing point of carbon dioxide is -78.5C. The temperature at which carbon dioxide sublimates is not a fixed value. It instead is a function of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide. That value ...
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9 votes

How much heat was released from the 2019-2020 Australian bush fires?

Right. We can make some estimates of the scale of the problem, but they will come with a healthy margin of error. If we assume that wood has a calorific value of 18.5 GJ/t (from the phyllis2 database)...
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9 votes

Review of calculation of CO$_2$ contribution to warming

This reminds me of using Bjørn Lomborg's book in statistics, as examples how not to do statistics, his calculations never make any sense or just make unfounded leaps to conclusions. Erik seems to have ...
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9 votes
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Can we run out of air because of global warming?

No, you can't blame the $CO_2$ concentration per se for your shortness of breath. From the Minnesota (U.S.) Department of Health: The outdoor concentration of carbon dioxide is about 400 parts per ...
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8 votes

How will increased $\ce{CO2}$ affect forests and other vegetative areas?

If you increase CO2 concentration and keep all other parameters at there current level, then biomass production should go up. The reason is simply that CO2 is one of the building blocks biomass is ...
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8 votes
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What would happen if we could revert $\mathrm{CO}_2$ production but took it too far?

The average global warming due to greenhouse gases corresponds to a 33 Kelvin temperature increase. If you remove all greenhouse gases the average global temperature would then decrease 33 Kelvin (...
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8 votes
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Could earth run out of O2?

No, that will not happen. There is just too much oxygen in the atmosphere. Over 20% of our atmosphere is oxygen. Only about 0.04 % of our atmosphere is CO2, so too much CO2 would kill us much sooner ...
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7 votes

Does natural plant decomposition release more greenhouse gases than burning

Another way of looking at the question: I take 2 standard wheelbarrows of bits of plants from my garden. One wheelbarrow is used to fill the compost bin. The other goes to the bonfire. How much ash ...
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  • 540
7 votes

What causes the counter-intuitive presence of CO2 in the atmosphere during spring and summer months?

From Scripps: [The] latitudinal differences in fluctuation are the result of photosynthetic activity by plants. As plants begin to photosynthesize in the spring and summer, they consume CO2 from ...
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7 votes
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How will increased $\ce{CO2}$ affect forests and other vegetative areas?

One of the consequences that I find more fascinating with the increased CO2 problem is the changes that affect specific components of the environment. One example that I like is the effect on poison ...
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7 votes

Difference between the oxygen/$CO_2$ ratio during the period of the dinosaurs and the present

Is it true that during the time of the dinosaurs, both the oxygen requirements (by all living creatures on the planet) and the CO2 released by volcanoes were higher than the same type of oxygen ...
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  • 5,667
7 votes
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What are the ranges of natural (or pre-industrial era) levels of CO2 in the atmosphere in ppm and tons?

There is no such thing as a single "natural" level of $CO_2$: In Earth's history, there have been levels much higher and much lower than currently, and they are all natural. What we should consider ...
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7 votes

Has the present rise of CO2 ppm been proved to be caused by human activity?

Possibly the strongest human "fingerprint" on rising CO2 levels comes from the changing ratio of carbon isotopes. Basically, there are three isotopes of carbon -- carbon atoms with varying weights of ...
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7 votes
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Are small reductions in CO2 emissions better than no reductions, in terms of mitigating climate change?

Yes, because carbon emissions are like a budget. The Mercator Institute has one of the most commonly cited analyses of our carbon budget: the atmosphere can absorb, calculated from end-2017, no more ...
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6 votes

Will the Southern Ocean act as a net source or sink for atmospheric $\ce{CO2}$ in the future?

I think you may have misunderstood the abstract of the paper, which says: Various human activities, including fossil fuel combustion and forest clearing, emit about eight petagrams (or billion ...
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6 votes
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If we burn all carbon in the Earth's crust, by how much would the atmospheric concentration of $CO_2$ increase?

Short answer: $\rm CO_2$ levels would increase by $209,460$ $\rm ppm$ by using all the available oxygen. Long answer: The mass of carbon in Earth's crust is $9(10)^{22}$ $\rm gC$ (grams of Carbon). ...
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6 votes
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Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

If CO2 increases are causing the oceans to warm, does that happen mainly by convection, then? It's counter intuitive to me to think about air convection having that much effect on ocean ...
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6 votes

Why is there a seasonal cycle to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

The magnitude of these seasonal variations differ from location to location. The graph below portrays variations in CO2 levels at Point Barrow Alaska (PTB), La Jolla California (LJO), Mauna Loa ...
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6 votes
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What is the residue after plant matter is completely decomposed?

From Mary, et al., 1996, Figure 1 on the second page shows a nice breakdown of there the Carbon and Nitrogen go when a plant decomposes. Hadas, et al., 2002 has experimental data from plants with C:N ...
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