Increase of Exchangeable Carbon in the Earth's Reservoirs from Combustion of Fossil Fuels.

by Doris J. Dugas

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Determination of the distribution of excess carbon dioxide produced during and after consumption of all fossil fuel with the aid of a four-reservoir model of carbon exchange as developed previously for carbon-14. From estimates of the total hydrocarbon fuel resources originally on earth, it is calculated that about 3000 billion tons of carbon ultimately may be released to the atmosphere. Maximum carbon concentration is estimated. Carbon excess in the surface layers of the ocean reaches a peak later than the atmosphere and retains less of the excess carbon at equilibrium, while the deep sea eventually absorbs over 90 percent of the excess carbon released by fossil fuel consumption. It was found that the results are highly sensitive to the assumptions as to future fossil fuel consumption rates, but that the atmospheric carbon concentration is not critically affected by the amount of direct exchange between the atmosphere and deep sea. 24 pp. Ref.

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