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. It is debatable however, to say the least, whether it is wise to conduct 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, the focus is on examining how the Earth System will recover from the perturbation. 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?

The carbonate compensation process works through an automatic adjustment of

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