KnowitAll Project- Wallace and Hobbs #2 – The oxygen and carbon budgets

by Joe Archive on January 17, 2008

a href=”http://blog.joeandersen.com/2008/01/knowitall-project-wallace-and-hobbs-1.html”Prev/abr /br /Production of oxygen by photosynthesis ties up carbon in an organic compound.All but 1/1000 of these carbons are eventually released through respiration of some sort.br /br /The remainder are fossilized, escaping oxidation. Stored in shales, coal, oil, gas. Burning fossil fuels undoes the work of photosynthesis.br /br /Only about 10% of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis remains in the atmosphere. The majority of the oxygen ends up in the crusts as metal oxides or carbonates. Carbonate formation is especially important, as it is a major sink of the carbon dioxide released by volcanic activity.br /br /Dissolved carbon dioxide reacts with water to form carbonic acid.br /br /H20 + CO2 – H2CO3br /br /A squence of reaction occur, usually inside small oceanic animals to form carbonates:br /br /H2CO3 + Ca++ – CaCO3 + 2H+br /br /The hydrogen ions then form water with a new oxygen atom, leading to migration of carbon and oxygen from the atmosphere to the shells of the marine life. These shells then fall tot he seafloor and are compressed overtime into limestone.br /br /Carbonates can also disolve and return carbon and oxygen to the atmosphere.br /br /span style=”font-style: italic;”/spanAppears to be a strong regulator of the atmospheric oxygen, which has remained constantbr /over a long time.br /br /span style=”font-style: italic;”It appears that we are overwhelming the forminafera with our current output of carbon – carbon levels have grown steadily since at least the 1950s, when the iconic a href=”http://www.grida.no/climate/vital/06.htm”Mauna Loa/a measurements begin (The “breathing” on the Mauna Loa curve tracks the growth and decay of northern spring/autumn- the southern hemisphere has relatively little forest area to balance).br /br /One recent geo-engineering proposal to offset our carbon dioxide output involves seeding the oceans with nutrients (iron specifically) to encourage the growth of various marine species, and increase the Carbon dioxide uptake.br //spana href=”http://blog.joeandersen.com/2008/01/knowitall-project-wallace-and-hobbs-3.html”spanbr /br /Next/span/aspan style=”font-style: italic;”br //span

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