1932

Abstract

CO released from combustion of fossil fuels equilibrates among the various carbon reservoirs of the atmosphere, the ocean, and the terrestrial biosphere on timescales of a few centuries. However, a sizeable fraction of the CO remains in the atmosphere, awaiting a return to the solid earth by much slower weathering processes and deposition of CaCO. Common measures of the atmospheric lifetime of CO, including the e-folding time scale, disregard the long tail. Its neglect in the calculation of global warming potentials leads many to underestimate the longevity of anthropogenic global warming. Here, we review the past literature on the atmospheric lifetime of fossil fuel CO and its impact on climate, and we present initial results from a model intercomparison project on this topic. The models agree that 20–35% of the CO remains in the atmosphere after equilibration with the ocean (2–20 centuries). Neutralization by CaCO draws the airborne fraction down further on timescales of 3 to 7 kyr.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100206
2009-05-30
2024-04-20
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100206
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100206
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error