Friday, January 1, 2010

No rise in fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere

Everyone seems to agree that even if man-made CO2 increases, at least a substantial proportion of it is absorbed "by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems." It is only the proportion that stays in the atmosphere that is likely to affect weather or climate.

So, granted that man-made CO2 has gone up dramatically since about 1850, what has happened to it? This study indicates that there has been no increase in the fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1860. So: there probably is an increase in the total of man-made CO2, and in the total in the atmosphere; but the ration remains: "In fact, only about 45 percent of emitted carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere."

This doesn't necessarily mean that man-made CO2 has had no effect on the climate--only that the earth's ability to absorb CO2 so far remains unimpaired, and this may argue against anything like a crisis or a disaster.

Note that I mis-stated this study in an earlier post. The commentary there also said:

(Note: It is not that the total atmospheric burden of CO2 has not been increasing over time, but that of the total CO2 released into the atmosphere each year by human activities, about 45% remains in the atmosphere while the other 55% is taken up by various natural processes—and these percentages have not changed during the past 150 years)

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