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Thread: CO2 balance

  1. #1 CO2 balance 
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    Please help me out,

    I have a question about CO2 balance.

    There seems to be quite a big discussion going on about this subject.

    One opinion is that there is a natural dynamic balance in CO2 emission and absorption, and the man made CO2 production is disturbing this balance.

    The contrary opinion is that ther is no balance and CO2 levels have allways varied.

    At least that's what I understand.

    Hence my question : Is there a natural balance in CO2 emission and absorption or not.

    Please enlighten me


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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "natural balance". There is a cycle which releases and absorbs carbon dioxide. This is complex and depends on many factors. Because of this CO2 levels have always varied.

    At the moment they are increasing faster than ever before because of the effects of man.


    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  4. #3  
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    I was reading this article where the question was brought up:

    How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?

    Maybe I should reframe my question as follows: Will the envirement be able to absorp all the man made CO2
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  5. #4  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    That article looks like a pretty good overview. Some of the CO2 produced is absorbed by oceans, plants and other things. But the majority of it increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (which raises the average temperature).

    But note that the absorption of CO2 by the oceans, for example, may not be permanent. As the oceans warm, they will be able to hold less CO2 and so some that has been absorbed may be released again.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  6. #5  
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    If you're really interested, look on the Skeptical Science list of most common climate myths for other CO2 related posts like these ...

    Does CO2 always correlate with temperature (and if not, why not?)

    How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?

    How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?

    Is CO2 a pollutant?

    Check all the levels of complexity presented. You'll probably find the answers you're looking for.

    One opinion is that there is a natural dynamic balance in CO2 emission and absorption, and the man made CO2 production is disturbing this balance.

    The contrary opinion is that ther is no balance and CO2 levels have allways varied.
    There's no contradiction between these views. As long as you take the view that humans are animals that are an integral part of the biosphere. Just as the onset of certain organisms transformed an earlier atmosphere by changing the balance in favour of oxygen, so another particular organism (us) is transforming the atmosphere by releasing CO2 from fossils at a rate much faster than the 'normal' geological cycles can absorb it.

    That earlier change promoted the development of some organisms at the expense of others thereby leading to the balance of flora and fauna we are used to. This new transformation if it continues may have a different, but just as large, impact on the balance of organisms in favour of those that thrive in higher temperatures and more unpredictable weather conditions.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks,
    it looks as if I have my homework cut out for me
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  8. #7  
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    The Carbon Cycle can't be ignored - yet the arguments by people wanting to dissuade us from acting pre-emptively to prevent dangerous climate change often do, sometimes it's ignorance, sometimes knowing deception . I've used the hose in the swimming pool analogy with at least a little bit of success (people stopped repeating their false argument temporarily in that forum); a trickle from a hose is tiny compared to what's entering the pool from other sources, ie the filter return.
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  9. #8  
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    Garrit,
    I recommend you look at the Keeling curve which is our longest running non-ice related direct measurement of CO2 change recorded in Hawaii. It not only shows the overall rising trend since the 1950, but also the seasonal fluctuations of CO2 in response to respiration and photosynthesis from winter to summer in the Northern hemisphere.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  10. #9  
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    Thank you, everybody for your answers, I will look all that up during the weeked.

    Trying to understand, is kind of, like studying, no

    for me it is somrthing like the global ice age that was predicted in the late seventies.
    I took that very seriously at that time.

    So the question remains : : If indeed there is a man made rise in CO or not, and yet more important, can we, (human beings) stop it or bring it down.
    Anyhow, I will not be bored this weekend, I'll have a lot of reading up to do.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerrit Jan View Post

    for me it is somrthing like the global ice age that was predicted in the late seventies.
    I took that very seriously at that time.
    No scentific study said any such thing, the wild story came from an article in Newsweek.
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  12. #11  
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    No scentific study said any such thing, the wild story came from an article in Newsweek.
    It's true that the wild speculation came from Newsweek. But there were a few (very few) scientific papers that took that line - far outweighed by the number of papers predicting warming. And the popular mind, remember, was primed for cooling stories by being overly familiar with the concept of the nuclear winter we fully expected if nuclear conflict broke out - as we constantly feared it might. Apart from Newsweek, there were several seriously bad novels on that theme.

    And the only reasons for those few scientists predicting cooling were that geologists were a bit off in their estimates of when the next move into glaciation was due - they had the wrong paleo parallel in mind. The other reason was that temperature records of the time were reflecting the fact that our smokestack emissions were a strong cooling forcing, hiding or depressing the 'naked' greenhouse gas signal that would otherwise have shown up quite clearly. (If power stations, industries and trains, trucks, cars and shipping as well as the domestic heating of that time had the same emissions as they now do, we wouldn't have had such a strong downward blip in the temperature record as we did. Nor would we have had the acid rain problem. )
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  13. #12  
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    It is worth noting that the US National Academy of Sciences put together a report in 1975 about the risk of an impending ice age - essentially concluding that the (then ) current understanding of climate was insufficient to make any prediction with confidence. I'm not sure that the original is available online, although some discussion with excerpts can be found here

    From the foreword (by V E Suomi, Chair of the US Committee for GARP):

    "...we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate...".

    That is not the case now. AFAIK no peak science body supported the view that we faced an impending ice age in the 1970's. Currently no peak science body disputes that we face climate change (warming) from human influences.
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