Showing posts with label Carbon Dioxide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carbon Dioxide. Show all posts

May 29, 2015

Carbon Dioxide Facts

Carbon Dioxide gets a bad rap from the press, but it is natural and essential to life. CO2 is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas and it is not a pollutant. Trying to control CO2 by regulation is trying to regulate and control nature. Without CO2, plants die off and without plant life the earth's biological food chain would be terminally broken.

Plants require carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis. Greenhouses enrich their atmospheres with additional CO2 to sustain and increase plant growth. Plants can grow as much as 50 percent faster in concentrations of 1,000 ppm CO2 when compared with ambient conditions. If carbon dioxide is increasing so much around the globe, it would be logical that plants and trees would be growing faster than they previously did, but they are not.

CO2 is reduced by photosynthesis of plants. A photosynthesis-related drop (by a factor less than two) in carbon dioxide concentration in a greenhouse compartment would kill green plants, or completely stop their growth. Increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations result in fewer stomata developing on plants, which leads to reduced water usage and increased water-use efficiency.

Deforestation for agriculture is just replacing one type of vegetation with another. Both trees and plants reduce CO2.

Photosynthesis by phytoplankton consumes dissolved CO2 in the upper ocean and promotes the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. Photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars from which other organic compounds can be constructed, and oxygen is produced as a by-product. Sea urchins convert carbon dioxide into raw material for their shells.

Carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), bicarbonate (HCO3) and carbonate (CO32). There is about fifty times as much carbon dissolved in the sea water of the oceans as exists in the atmosphere. The oceans act as an enormous carbon sink, and take up about 30% of the total released into the atmosphere.

In medicine, up to 5% carbon dioxide (130 times atmospheric concentration) is added to oxygen for stimulation of breathing after apnea and to stabilize the O2/CO2 balance in blood.

Liquid and solid carbon dioxide are important refrigerants, especially in the food industry, where they are employed during the transportation and storage of frozen foods. Solid carbon dioxide, dry ice is used for small shipments where refrigeration equipment is not practical.

Carbon dioxide is used in enhanced oil recovery where it is injected into or adjacent to producing oil wells, when it becomes miscible (mixed) with the oil. It acts as both a pressurizing agent and, when dissolved into the underground crude oil, significantly reduces its viscosity, and changes surface chemistry enabling the oil to flow faster.

Carbon dioxide is used to keep the pH level from rising in swimming pools.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide fluctuate slightly with the change of the seasons. Concentrations of carbon dioxide fall during the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer as plants consume it, and rise during the northern autumn and winter as plants go dormant or die.

Up to 40% of the gas emitted by some volcanoes during eruptions is carbon dioxide.

Various proxies and modeling suggests larger variations in past times. 500 million years ago CO2 levels were likely 10 times higher than now.

Take a deep breath, exhale and out comes carbon dioxide. All the carbon in our body comes either directly or indirectly from plants, which recently took it out of the air. When we breathe out, all the carbon dioxide we exhale has already been accounted for. We are simply returning to the air the same carbon that was there to begin with, so humans are carbon neutral.

Incidentally, during 2009, energy-related CO2 emissions in the US had their largest absolute and percentage decline, seven percent (which followed a three percent drop in 2008), since the start of US Energy Information Administration comprehensive record of annual energy data that began in 1949.

Nov 13, 2012

Facts About Plants and Oxygen

Plants do not turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. The way this happens is a complex process called photosynthesis. Plants convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrate precursors and water as fuel for the plant. This does not require any light.

Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis where the plant uses light and converts it to potential energy.

Mar 30, 2010

Aspen to the Rescue

The rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is making some trees grow by 50% is a finding of a new study of natural stands of quaking aspen, one of North America's most important and widespread deciduous trees. The study, by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota at Morris (UMM) and published Dec. 4, 2009 in the journal Global Change Biology, shows that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide during the past 50 years have boosted aspen growth rates by an astonishing 50 percent.

The findings are important as the world's forests, which cover about 30 percent of the Earth's land surface, play an important role in regulating climate and sequestering greenhouses gases. The forests of the Northern Hemisphere, in particular, act as sinks for carbon dioxide, helping to offset increased levels of carbon dioxide.

Aspen is a dominant tree in mountainous and northern forested regions of North America, including 42 million acres of Canadian forest and up to 6.5 million acres in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"We can't forecast ecological change. It's a complicated business," explains Waller, a UW-Madison professor of botany. Carbon dioxide is food for plants, which extract it from the air and through photosynthesis convert it to sugar, plant food. Seems to me nature is healing itself. Hmmm, wonder if that news is in the Global expletive findings?

Nov 12, 2009

ECO Myths

Here are some eco myths to think about.
Myth: The Earth is warmer than it was 100 years ago.
Truth: At most it’s risen by 0.3 Celsius, less than 0.003 degrees annually.

Myth: Global Warming must be happening, it’s warmer here in Small Town.
Truth: It is global averages that matter (see above)

Myth: Carbon dioxide levels and average global temperatures are at a record high
Truth: No, they are among the lowest determined over the last few million years.

Myth: Rising carbon dioxide levels are directly linked to rising global temperatures.
Truth: Not necessarily, there is a 400-4000 year timelag

Myth: Receding ice sheets prove anthropogenic (man made) Global Warming is happening
Truth: Some ice is melting, other areas are actually growing

Myth: Carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse gas
Truth: No, that would be water vapor of which there is an abundance in the atmosphere, then there is methane, and nitrogen trifluoride used in the manufacture of flat screen TVs.

Myth: If we accept it as real, we can do something about it.
Truth: We cannot even control local weather, what makes us think carbon sequestration and seeding the oceans, etc. will allow us to affect the climate. These come from a science web site.