Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: Chondrally on 28/11/2017 23:07:56

Title: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: Chondrally on 28/11/2017 23:07:56

* CO2levelsintofuture.png (24.26 kB . 1117x720 - viewed 2400 times)
Looking at this graph which was constructed from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) data from 1980 to 2016 for the CO2 levels in parts per million per month mean, extrapolated with Bayesian Markov Monte Carlo Path Integration,  we can see that around 2036, 18 years and 1 month from now, the concentration will pass 493 ppm CO2 which is the critical point for the saturation and breakage of the magnesium carbonate buffer.  The Calcium Carbonate buffer will saturate during the year 2100 at 878 ppm CO2.  When the magnesium carbonate buffer breaks, it will oscillate first up in pH by one unit then down by 2 pH units to end up more acidic over a 2 year period.  I solved these equations by using diffusion equations in the top 1000 feet of the worlds oceans , 71 percent of the planets surface and the full chemistry pH formula for all the ions in solution in typical seawater. 
If the phytoplankton and algae cannot survive the pH and temperature changes, it means half the worlds oxygen supply and the base of the food chain in the ocean.  Scientists are working at breakneck speed to genetically engineer phytoplankton that can survive the pH and temperature changes.   
I saw a National Film Board of Canada film back in 1988 at the Univeristy of Sherbrooke in Quebec put out by the department of Fisheries.  They were breeding fish with water bladders.  Essentially a sack on the underside of the fish that contains fresh water.  if they also had tougher skins, they might survive the pH and temperature changes too.
The calcium carbonate buffer saturating is the end of the line for the Oceans on Earth.  We must stop the fossil fuels before then and all CO2 emissions.
Can we build a hybrid solar/Syngas engine that emits no CO2 and is oxygen neutral?
Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: jeffreyH on 29/11/2017 18:16:58
The carbon cycle isn't an isolated system. It interacts with other systems. There is currently investigations of the data being undertaken.

The hydrosphere.
Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: alancalverd on 29/11/2017 20:56:32
Prediction is very difficult. Especially about the future.

Assuming no brake on the use of fossil fuels is rather ignoring the weight of the elephant. Since they are (a) finite (b) politically sensitive (c) urban pollutants and (d) easy to tax, we can anticipate a slowdown in their use due to rising prices and increased  taxation, plus strong pulls from the transport industry for more efficiency (i.e greater profits).

But there is another elephant in the room. Increased temperatures, due to the inevitable water cycle, will lead to increased activity of invertebrates and coldblooded creatures, more insects = more birds and less vegetation, so as so often in geological history, CO2 levels will increase along with atmospheric water content until a continuous veil of high cloud prevents further heating.
Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: puppypower on 04/12/2017 12:07:04
Another thing to consider is CO2 is slightly soluble in water. If CO2 in the atmosphere warms the earth, and the warmer earth causes more water to enter the atmosphere, there is more water in the atmosphere to scrub out the CO2. CO2 is not inert, but will react with water to form nongaseous carbonic acid. If we compare the mass of the water in the atmosphere with the mass of the CO2 in the atmosphere, the water has plenty of capacity for the CO2.

If you were designing a smoke stack to capture gases, like CO2, you could use a countercurrent water stream; flows down the inside walls of the stack like rain. The CO2 will see the chemical potential and will self diffuse into the water, where it concentrates. The bottom water stream will be enriched in CO2, as carbonic acid, which is not a gas. The earth does the same thing.

At one time, all the CO2 of the earth, that is now fixed as fossil fuels, was once in play. If we assume fossil fuels came from life, then life needed to absorb all the seed CO2 contained in all the fossil fuel deposits we have burned and are still discovering. Temperature data from way back then; starting when life first appears, was not drastically hotter than today, with all that extra CO2, that was not yet fixed as fossil fuels.

One way to explain this, is connected to the earth's water, acting as an atmospheric scrubber, to help recycle CO2 back to the land and oceans for use by life. Water will concentrate the CO2, then rain down to make it easier for the plants to have access to high levels of CO2. If you look at the photosynthesis reaction the plant absorbs CO2 plus water. The CO2 enriched rain offers this on a silver platter. In fact, one can argue water and high levels of soluble CO2, may have help drive the initial evolution of photosynthesis.

Since CO2 plus water is an acid, it will also solubilize the soil's alkaline minerals; Na, K, Ca, Mg, leading to CaCO3; limestone and other such minerals. This also helps the plants by making key soil nutrients easy to get. The limestone deposits on the earth, were a water thing, and not a molten lava thing.

Water has its finger in all pies from star formation to the functioning of the DNA. The CO2 recycle uses water's baby finger.
Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: puppypower on 05/12/2017 11:48:06
Let me add one further consideration, which is the change in the IR absorption spectrum of CO2, if the CO2 was to react with water to become carbonic acid. The peak will change from a wavenumber of 2400 to about 1800.

The wave number is defined as the number of wavelengths per unit of length; centimeter. The 2400 of CO2 has more wavelengths per centimeter meaning the hotter side of IR spectrum. The carbonic acid absorbs on the cooler side of the IR spectrum. This could explain why the earth is not warming as much as the computer models predict.  Carbonic acid keeps in cooler IR; 1800, in the greenhouse, but lets out the warmer IR; 2400, that pure CO2 would keep in.

If we look at the absorption spectrum of water, as shown the third figure, the peak wave number of water also falls from 3400 to 1800, when water reacts with CO2 to form carbonic acid. In this case, the CO2, by reacting with water, also makes water more transparent to warm IR.  The CO2 plus H2O reaction opens some of the greenhouse windows, to let some heat out. 



Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: syhprum on 05/12/2017 21:19:22
More strange non SI units wave numbers which are apparently wave lengths per centimetre i.e the inverse of the more normal wavelength in meters divided by 100.
Why not just use frequency ! 
Title: Re: What are CO2 levels in future, based on a do-nothing approach to CO2 emissions?
Post by: Colin2B on 05/12/2017 22:47:05
wave numbers .......
Why not just use frequency !
Can be convenient in some calculations to use wave number (spatial frequency) instead of more common temporal frequency. Used a lot in astronomy because of historical use with spectra, diffraction etc.