Saturday, March 2nd 2013, 5:22 PM EST
The Carbon Cycle – Nature or Nurture? by Ed Caryl
We know, from ice measurements, measurements at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, Barrow Alaska, and the South Pole, that atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing in our atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial age. We also know that temperatures have been increasing in that same time interval, as the earth warms up from the “Little Ice Age.” The proponents of the theory that man’s production of CO2 has resulted in this temperature increase, use that idea to predict future temperature increases based on our continuing to use fossil fuels and continuing to force an increase in atmospheric CO2. But, is the increase in CO2 due to man; or is the increase in CO2 natural, due to rising temperatures caused by natural means?
The natural CO2 flux to and from oceans and land plants amounts to approximately 210 gigatons of carbon annually. Man currently causes about 8 gigatons of carbon to be injected into the atmosphere, about 4% of the natural annual flux. There are estimates that about half of man’s emissions are taken up by nature. But is that true? Are there variations in the natural flux? Could those explain the CO2 increase?
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