Flashcards in The Carbon Budget, And Enhanced Greenhouse Gas Effect Deck (7)
What is the definition of 'carbon budget'?
An amount of carbon dioxide that a country, company, or organisation has agreed is the largest it will produce in a particular period of time.
What is the definition of 'global carbon budget'?
The total amount of carbon that moves into and out of the earth's atmosphere, seas, and land: As climate change becomes a central issue in international discussions, understanding the global carbon budget will become increasingly crucial.
What classifies as a 'carbon sink'?
The land, the ocean, and the atmosphere.
Expand on the land as a carbon sink.
1) Dry, water stressed plants are more susceptible to fire (which releases carbon) and insects when growing seasons become longer.
2) The warming caused by rising greenhouse gases may "bake" the soil, accelerating the rate at which carbon may seep out.
3) Plants on land have taken up and will continue to take up approximately 25% of carbon dioxide that humans have put into the atmosphere.
Expand on the ocean as a carbon sink.
1) The more acidic ocean water becomes, the better it dissolves calcium carbonate. this will dissolve the carbonate shells of marine organisms, making them weaker.
2) About 30% of the carbon dioxide that humans put in the atmosphere has diffused into the ocean.
3) Warmer oceans could decrease the abundance of phytoplankton, which grow better in cool waters. this could limit the ocean's ability to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Expand on the atmosphere as a carbon sink.
1) Warmer temperatures evaporate more water from the oceans leading to higher humidity. Cooling of this highly humid air causes water vapour to condense and fall as rain, sleet or snow.
2) Carbon dioxide causes about 20% of the earth's greenhouse effect; water vapour 50%, clouds 25%, the rest caused by aerosols and gases like methane.
3) Whilst greenhouse gases have been increasing, average global temperatures have risen 0.8 degrees since 1880.