What is CO 2 – friend or foe? Tom V. Segalstad Head of the Geological Museum, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo http://folk.uio.no/tomvs Atmosphere gases The Earth's atmosphere contains on wet basis
Tom V. Segalstad
Head of the Geological Museum,
Natural History Museum,
University of Oslo
The Earth's atmosphere contains on wet basis
~73.5 %nitrogen, ~22.5 %oxygen, ~2.7 % water, and ~1.25 %argonper weight.
Among thetrace gasesare: CO2, neon, helium, methane, and others.
The content of CO2 is ca.0.05 weight-%, compared with ca.
2.7 weight-% water.
Carbon dioxide CO2 is an colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas.
CO2 occurs as a linear O=C=O molecule, where two oxygen atoms stick strongly together with one carbon atomwith double bonds. Hence CO2 is not very reactive.
An analogy is how strongly two men (oxygens), each with their two arms, would like to stick to a beautiful woman (carbon).
CH2O + O2CO2 + H2O
carbohydrate + oxygen CO2 + water
Plants make carbohydrate by combining atmospheric CO2 with water, powered by light:
CO2 + H2O+ energyCH2O + O2
CO2 + water+ energy carbohydrate + oxygen
Increasing CO2, water and energy will make the chemical reaction go from left to right, making the plants produce more carbohydrates.
We need for living carbohydrates made by plants.
Hence CO2 is:THE GAS OF LIFE !
The photosynthesis / breathing+decay reaction
CO2 + H2O+ energyCH2O + O2
shows us that all CO2 accumulated by the plant, will be released again to the atmosphere when the plant material rot or is burned.
Then tree planting will only temporarily remove CO2 from the atmosphere, unless the trees are somehow buried to prevent them from decay or being burned.
CO2 in air (upper graph) and surface temperatures (lower graph) were constant for some 900 years, but have risen considerably the last 100 years. IPCC’s scenarios involve drastic rises in both air CO2 concentration and surface temperatures.
These assertions have been strongly opposed by CO2 measurement critics and historical temperature facts: warm + cold missing.
Medieval warm period missing
called the ”Climate Optimum”
The ”Little Ice Age”
Figure from Bryant (1997)
A geologist’s view of the evolution of the surface temperature of the Earth, based on geological data. We see the Pleistocene ice ages (middle right), the Medieval warm period (= the ”Climate optimum”), the Little Ice Age, and future projections!
Some of the trace gasses in air can absorb heat, making the Earth habitable (~14°C vs. minus 18°C) by the “Greenhouse Effect”, 146 W/m² of cloud-free air, dominated by water vapor. Anthropogenic CO2 is less than ½ W/m²,judged from C isotopes (more later). Clouds are the real thermostat, with far more temperature regulating power than CO2.
All ice on Earth has a mass of 3.3 x 1022 g. Its latent heat of fusion is 9.3 x 1024 J. The Earth’s ocean has a mass of 1.4 x 1024 g. Assertions say that ”all ice on Earth will melt in a short time from anthropogenic CO2”. If melting energy hypothetically had been taken from the ocean, all its water would cool 2°C. Heat-absorbing part of the air has a mass of only 1.4 x 1022 g.
Heating all of the atmosphere 2°C would require energy of 1.2 x 1022 J. This amount of energy is not enough to first heat the air over the poles to the melting point of ice (0°C) and next to overcome the latent heat of fusion for all ice on Earth. Thus ice and ocean participace as “thermostats”.
NOAA’s measurements of the solar constant show that the Sun produced a forcing of 0.24 W/m² during the past sunspot cycle, while assertions said that greenhouse gases caused 0.25 W/m². Coffey et al. write: ”Global change models must discern between variations caused by anthropogenic and natural occurrences to provide a sound scientific basis for policy making on global change issues”.
The carbon in the Earth’s lithosphere and atmosphere has come from degassing of CO2 from the Earth’s mantle. The amount of CO2 in air is minute compared to the other reservoirs. Without sediments, the partial pressure of air CO2 alone would be 40-60 atmospheres.
This review is important; IPCC’s ocean is clean distilled water.
CO2 enters the atmosphere from many sources to the left.
Atmospheric CO2dissolves, hydrolyses and protolyses in the ocean. CO2may combine with calcium and precipitate as CaCO3 in limestone, sedimented on the sea floor together with shells from organisms. This is analogous to breathing CO2 into a test tube with Ca(OH)2; CaCO3 almost instantly precipitates.
CO2 (g) ↔ CO2 (aq) dissolution
CO2 (aq) + H2O ↔ H2CO3 (aq) hydrolysis
H2CO3 (aq)↔ H+ + HCO3- (aq) 1st protolysis
HCO3- (aq) ↔ H+ + CO32- (aq) 2nd protolysis
Ca2+ (aq) + CO32- (aq) ↔ CaCO3 (s) precipitation
CO2 (g) + H2O + Ca2+ (aq) ↔ CaCO3 (s) + 2 H+net reaction
Note that increase in CO2 (g) will force the reaction to the right.
Equilibria are governed by the Law of Mass Action + Henry’s Law:
The partial pressure of CO2 (g) in air is proportional to the concentration of CO2 (aq) dissolved in water.
The proportionality constant is Henry’s Law Constant, KH;
strongly dependent on temperature, less on pressure and salinity.
Henry’s Law Constant is an equilibrium partition coefficient for CO2 (g) in air vs. CO2 (aq) in water:
at 25°C KH ≈ 1 : 50
At lower temperature more gas dissolves in the water.
We have all experienced this –
cold soda or beer or champagne can contain more CO2; thus has more effervescense than hot drinks.
The brewery sais that they add 3 liters of CO2 to 1 liter of water in the soda. But where did all the CO2 go?
Henry’s Law Constant directs that CO2 (g) in air vs. CO2 (aq) in water
at 25°C is distributed ≈ 1 : 50
This means that there will be about 50 times more CO2 dissolved in water than contained in the free air above.
The soda bottle is a good analogue to nature: there is about 50 times more CO2 in the ocean than in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Ocean water has 120mg HCO3- per liter; as much CO2 as in 180 liter of air.
IPCC claims that the CO2 equilibration between air and water will take 50 - 200 years as ”a rough indication”
(IPCC 1990; Table 1.1).
Furthermore that most of the CO2 added to air will accumulate in the air, and very little be dissolved in water:
Table from Segalstad (1998); after Rohde (1992).
Experiments show this not to be the case. Do we all wait for 50 – 200 years for our soda or beer from the brewery?
IPCC tells us what will happen when the air CO2 has doubled. Is this possible by burning all available fossil carbon?
Imagine you hold up a Roman beam balance at the red circle, illustrating the action of the Henry’s Law balance.
To double the air CO2 – how much CO2 must be added?
+ 1 kg + 50 kg = 51 kg total
Let us enter actual data for the masses of CO2 in the atmosphere and the ocean; as carbon equivalents (GT C).
How much can the CO2 content increase in the atmosphere by burning all available fossil fuel, 7.000 GT C, under the condition of chemical equilibrium?
+ 137 GT + 6 863 GT = 7 000 GT
= 20% increase
Anthropogenic doubling is impossible
In a number of publications our research group has rejected IPCC’s 3 proofs of anthropogenic warming.
CO2 measurements near the top of the strongly CO2-emitting active volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii have been taken as representative of the world’s air CO2 level. There is a 50% error vs. the expected CO2 level from burning fossil fuel.
This enormous error of 3 – 4 GT C annually has been nicknamed ”The Missing Sink”, and disproves the IPCC.
13C/12C isotope ratios are expressed as δ (delta) values defined as the standard-normalized difference from the standard, expressed as δ13C in per mil (‰). The reference standard used is PDB (Pee Dee Belemnite).
Segalstad (1992 & 1996)
Left: reservoirs found to be in carbon isotopic equilibrium. Burning of biospheric fossil fuel adds 12C (low δ13C)to the air. δ13Cof air in 1988 show ~4% anthropogenic CO2 in air (right scale shows % mixing). Not 21% as asserted by the IPCC, which would have given air δ13C ≈ -11.
Using the radioactive decay equation for the lifetime of CO2 in air, we can calculate the masses of remaining CO2 from different reservoirs using isotopic mass balance; checking for match vs. air CO2 in December 1988: mass = 748 GT C; δ13C= -7.807 (Keeling et al. 1989).
The calculations confirm that maximum 4% (14 GT C) of the air CO2 has anthropogenic origin; 96% is indistinguishable from non-fossil-fuel (natural marine and juvenile)sources. Air CO2 lifetime is ~5 years.
~134 GT C (18%) of air CO2 is exchanged each year, far more than the ~6 GT C annually released from fossil fuel burning.
We also see why the IPCC’s ”rough indication” lifetime 50-200 years for atmospheric CO2 gives an atmosphere which is too light; only 50% of the atmospheric CO2 mass. This explains why the wrong IPCC model creates the artificial 50% error, nicknamed ”The Missing Sink”.