Burning Fossil Fuels

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How Does the Earth System Respond to the Burning of Fossil Fuels?

[Image: rise in CO2] Humanity is currently conducting an enormous experiment with the Earth. By the middle of this century we are set to have doubled the natural carbon dioxide concentration. The results should be interesting, although it is at the very least debatable whether we should be conducting such experiments on the only habitable planet available to us.

There are several serious consequences of pumping vast amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Some of these consequences can be explored with the JModels: short-term global warming, ocean acidification and a long-term legacy of elevated CO2. On this page, however, the focus will be restricted to examining how the Earth System will recover from the perturbation. [[Carbonate Compensation|Carbonate compensation] is a stabilising feedback, but how exactly will it interact with the CO2 perturbation. Will it compensate against anthropogenic CO2 to bring the system back to equilibrium?

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Further reading

  • M. Wild et al. (2005) From dimming to brightening: Decadal changes in solar radiation at Earth's surface. Science, 308: 847-850.

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