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Planetary metabolism: Breathing of the Earth

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Date and time Sep 13, 2018
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM
Location 60 St. George Street, MP 102
Host Kimberly Strong

Scott Denning

Colorado State University

ScottThe Earth breathes! Life on Earth consumes 1/7 of all the CO2 in the atmosphere each year through plant growth, and simultaneously creates 1/7 of all atmospheric CO2 by death and decomposition. For more than 50 years, life has been growing faster than it’s dying, which allows the Earth’s metabolism to suck up ¼ of all CO2 produced by the global economy and thereby slow global warming. NASA satellites document planetary biology, allowing us to understand and predict this incredible process, and to understand our place in it.

Over a longer timescale, fossil CO2 must react with the deep oceans, which limited by thermal stratification of seawater. A substantial amount of carbon derived from fossil fuels will still be in the atmosphere after many millennia.

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