Human Emissions are a Fraction of ACO2

ACO2 is the human emissions that is emitted into the atmosphere and into the airborne carbon cycle.  Are total CO2 emissions from any source compatible with human prosperity?  As the comment and graph from recent times shows the answer seems to be yes.   The total CO2 calculated due to the burning of fossil fuels is showing  a flattening over the past 3 years.  


But how much of this increase over time in CO2 is dependent on human emissions versus natural causes?




How much of human emissions makes it into the category of ACO2 and how to separate this from natural emissions of CO2? 


Unfortunately there is no accurate answer to this question.   As one can see in the graph below, the total human emissions as calculated from the burning of fossil fuels (FFCO2) is greater than the observed change in total CO2.   This means that the CO2 sinks at the earth's surface are feasting on the human emissions, leaving a fraction smaller than the delta CO2. 


Does the fraction of FFCO2 equal this delta CO2?  This is not likely although many publications would like to say this is certain.  If it is true then around 60% of FFCO2 become ACO2 which would equal delta CO2. 


However in more scientific accurate terms the total FFCO2 plus the natural emissions (NECO2) = net change in total CO2.  

plus residual (remaining from previous years)



The carbon cycle diagram below also indicates what occurred by IPCC numbers in the 1989 - 1998 time period.   The amount associated with land use  has been estimated to be 1.6Gtons while the ACO2 that comes from fossil fuels is 6.3Gtons.   The total delta in CO2 as measured at Mt Loa (see graph below) is 3.3Gtons.   The difference of sources to sinks is a positive 3.3Gton equivalent.   What happens to the other 4.6Gtons?





The Mauna Loa data is agreed to be a good measure of the total CO2 in the atmosphere, and shown below in the curve.  It is high atop a mountain in Hawaii and well calibrated and the effects of the inactive volcano it sits on presumably removed, as is reported.   What Prof Salby points out is that the top curve or graph above shows an increase of roughly 2x in calculated CO2 from fossil fuels but this change in slope does not show up in the Mt Loa data.   This is replicated in the graphs below right.


This strongly suggests that the natural emissions dominate, as Salby details. 

The variability each year gives a lot of information and the steady increase in the total CO2 is often assumed to be caused by ACO2 and its accumulation in the atmosphere.   The carbon cycle above indicates that the sinks of CO2 are quite large and mostly offset by other natural processes.  The sink of the ocean absorption of CO2 is a very large number and that for absorption into the greenery on earth is also much larger.


  The sinks range for a given year to be estimated as 150Gtons with a variability that is not characterized or even that well funded in research.   An increase in greenery and ocean absorption which is very temperature sensitive (cold sea surface temperatures would absorb more CO2, hotter less CO2).   



As Prof Salby pointed out the variation in a given year tells us a lot about the natural variability and the possible amount of ACO2.   As is detailed in the section on ACO2 amount, we see that this percentage is small and the lifetime in the atmosphere of ACO2 is also less than a year.



Section for a video or follow-on comment

We should revisit occasionally what the proper role of government is.   As the constitution was a good sense of direction, we need a core set of principles to add in order to deal with the future.


So many want to engineer society, remove risk, assist certain groups, rather than let individuals thrive and raise communities.  Why?


Is Democracy where we all "get it good and hard" or is it the best means to a free society?


Should we roll with the special interests, or make the government achieve its proper role, what is that role, and how to do this?


When do deficits and governments become too large?


Government is becoming more elitist while trying to sell corrections to problems it created, what makes this possible?


Could include a pic

This could also be inserted into the field above, or erased


Currently as a society, we are having a most difficult time discussing political issues.  What is driving this?   And why a rebirth in political culture would be a good thing.


Market Economy

Are "markets" dead as some would conjecture? Or is free enterprise what got us here?


Economic Theories

At the heart of economics there are several possible economic schools of thought, the essence of these schools of thought and how they relate to our lives.


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