1 Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through the burning of fossil fuels. CO2 is a gas with a specific heat capacity of 1, which means that it can absorb a certain amount of energy in a given volume of air.
Table of Contents
Why is carbon dioxide called a greenhouse gas quizlet?
When the light is reflected back into space, the gases absorb the radiation and trap it as heat. For example, at sea level, a greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide traps about 1.5 times as much heat as it does at the top of a mountain.
This difference is called the albedo (or reflectivity) of an area. In the case of Antarctica, this is about 0.3 percent, or about the same as the reflectiveness of snow.
What does CO2 do to the environment?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rising carbon dioxide concentrations are causing the planet to heat up at a faster rate than at any time in at least the last 800,000 years. “If we don’t do something about it, it’s going to get worse,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University and a co-author on the new study.
Why does CO2 trap heat?
Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases have molecular structures that enable them to absorb infrared radiation. Like the pitch of a violin string, the bonds between atoms in a molecule vibrate in different ways.
When the vibration is strong enough, the vibrating atoms can release energy in the form of heat. In the case of carbon dioxide, this energy is converted into heat by a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process that plants use to convert sunlight into food.
What are the 3 main greenhouse gases?
Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapour make up half of all greenhouse gas emissions. This increase has been driven by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, as well as deforestation and other land-use changes, the researchers said.
What is a greenhouse gas simple definition?
At night, the earth’s surface cools, releasing heat into the air. These gases are responsible for about half of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is based on the work of more than 200,000 scientists around the world.
Scientists have been trying to figure out how much of this increase is due to human activity, and to what extent it is natural. IPCC’s latest report, which was released in September, found that the increase in CO2 and methane is “unequivocal” and “extremely likely” to be caused by human activities.
Is CO2 harmful to the planet?
The major threat from increased CO2 is the greenhouse effect. As a greenhouse gas, excessive CO2 creates a cover that traps the sun’s heat energy in the atmospheric bubble, warming the planet and the oceans. Changes in precipitation patterns, ocean acidification, and sea level rise can be caused by an increase in CO2 on the Earth.
CO2 levels have been rising steadily since the Industrial Revolution, but the rate of increase has slowed in recent years. In fact, the last time the global average temperature increased by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) was during the Little Ice Age, which lasted from the mid-19th century to the early 20th.
Since then, average global temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) over the past century, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. That’s less than half of the 2-degree increase that scientists is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.
Does carbon dioxide cause global warming?
As a result, the oceans absorb more heat from the sun, which in turn increases the amount of energy that reaches the earth’s surface. “This is the first time we’ve been able to measure the effect of carbon dioxide on global temperatures,” said lead author Dr. Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University.
“We found that the increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is largely due to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, not natural variability. This is a very important finding, because it suggests that we need to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, extreme weather events, and more frequent and severe droughts and floods.”
Mann and his colleagues used data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) to examine the relationship between global mean surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The researchers used the GISS and NCDC data sets to calculate the average global temperature change over the past 150 years.
How does increased CO2 affect plant growth?
Studies have shown that higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect crops in two important ways: they boost crop yields by increasing the rate of photosynthesis, which spurs growth, and they reduce the amount of water that plants need to grow. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that the effects of higher atmospheric CO2 levels on plant growth and water use are even more pronounced than previously thought.
The researchers found that when plants are exposed to higher CO 2 levels, their photosynthetic rates increase by an average of 2.5 percent per degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of increase in temperature, compared to plants grown at the same temperature without the extra carbon. That’s a significant increase, the researchers , because it means plants will be able to use more water when they’re growing at higher temperatures. View this image › A plant growing in a greenhouse.
PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas. the study’s lead author, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign plant ecologist David Schindler, said the findings are important because they help explain why PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.
Is CO2 warmer than oxygen?
Carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, are better at holding heat than oxygen and nitrogen because carbon dioxide gas molecules have more parts than oxygen or nitrogen molecules. “It’s a very good thing for life on Earth.”
In the new study, Mann and his colleagues used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network (GGRN) to estimate the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would be needed to keep global average temperatures from rising by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels by the end of this century.