How greenhouse gases circulate: the global carbon cycle

So once we’ve produced our greenhouse gases (see previous post), what happens to them? Well, most get reabsorbed into soils, vegetation and the ocean. But an increasing proportion do not get reabsorbed.

The global carbon cycle, data from the IPCC

The global carbon cycle, data from the IPCC

According to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (Summary for Policymakers):

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations… The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone. (via EIA – Greenhouse Gases, Climate Change, and Energy)

But hold on just one moment, while contemplating the IPCC’s conclusions. Because the 2,500 scientists meeting in Copenhagen in March concurred that things are getting worse faster than the IPCC’s current predictions suggest. 

Happy Easter.

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About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
This entry was posted in Climate change, The bigger picture. Bookmark the permalink.

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