What is Carbon Dioxide?
Before attempting to answer any questions based on observations about carbon dioxide, taking a moment to identify the carbon dioxide helps to ensure a clear understanding of the element. According to Princeton University (n.d.), “carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide, is a heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances”. This naturally occurring element is exists in the Earth’s atmosphere where it circulates between water, plants, soil and animals.
Current Carbon Dioxide Levels
Knowledge of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere helps scientists understand how the gas affects Earth, its atmosphere and any potential global warming. Carbon dioxide levels, measured in parts per million (ppm), defines a unit of measure “as a measure of small levels of pollutants in air, water, body fluids, etc. Parts per million is the mass ratio between the pollutant component and the solution” (TET, n.d.). Rising every year since 1958, the current atmospheric carbon dioxide level is 396.81 ppm according to co2now.org (2014). Scientists believe that they only have a short amount of time to get this and other greenhouse gases under control before the planet crosses the point of no return.
With a level of 396.81 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, one may wonder if this level is the highest level the Earth has seen in the last 450,000 years. According to the graph found at Planet Seed’s website (2014), this is the highest levels of carbon dioxide level recorded in that time. In fact, the graph clearly shows a spike in carbon dioxide levels in the last portion of the g...
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...3). Overview of greenhouse gases. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html
Hilderman, R. (2011). Fossil fuel and atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Retrieved from http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/fossil-fuel-and-atmospheric-levels-of-carbon-dioxide.aspx
Marshall, C. (2013). Small-scale U.S. lab experiment removes CO2 from atmosphere at relatively low cost. http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059981902
Planet Seed. (2014). Global climate change and energy CO2 and temperature change. Retrieved from http://www.planetseed.com/relatedarticle/co2-and-temperature-change
Princeton University. (n.d.). WordNet search - 3.1. Retrieved from http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=co2
The Engineering Toolbox (TET). (n.d.). PPM - parts per million. Retrieved from http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ppm-d_1039.html
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