E&ES 132       CO2



       Professor Joop Varekamp                                 Teaching Assistants:
                                                                                                                                  Eli Fierer  343-9273
                                                                                                                           Cara Smith

The role of CO2 in earth processes is very large relative to the modest quantities of it that are present in the atmosphere. In this course we will study all aspects of the physics, chemistry and biology of CO2. The course is structured around the new atmospheric CO2 monitoring facility in the E&ES department.

In addition we will look into the structure of CO2 molecules, techniques to measure CO2 , and carry out experiments with growing plants.

The E&ES CO2 monitoring site will begin collecting data when the course starts. We will compare the Wesleyan CO2 record with those from elsewhere and interpret variations in measured CO2 contents at different time scales (day/night; weekly, seasonal, long-term) in terms of local and regional fluxes of CO2.

We will extract CO2 databases from the WEB and replot them with our data, calculate fluxes of absolute amounts from data series, and other computer exercises.

We will do some class lab exercises with the program SIMEARTH - you can manipulate the intensity of the sun, the extent of the biosphere, atmospheric CO2 and more, and create your own ice ages and global warming scenarios.

Student groups will create scenarios of global warming for emission densities of CO2 in the world, and write essays or give presentations on scientific and political aspects.

To learn more about Earth Science go to the UC Berkeley Geology website

To learn more about photosynthesis in the oceans, go to Emiliani Huxleyi

Questions addressed:
     What is the role of CO2 in global climate (greenhouse gas)?
        Related Links:Emissions in U.S.
     CO2 Cycling
                         GLOBAL WARMING


Ocean warming


How does photosynthesis work?
                    Related Links:  photosynthesis diagrams

  Lecture notes Kristina Beuning

     How does CO2 acidify surface waters?
                         Related Links:Urinary bicarbonate effects
                              CO2's relationship with pH

     How much CO2 is there on other planets?
                    Related Links: planetary inventory

     How has atmospheric CO2 varied over the course of earth's history?
                     Related Links:    CO2 and Global Climate Change
Lecture notes Ellen Thomas on Clathrates and Paleocene warming





Influence of PLANTS


What should we do to prevent further global warming - the Kyoto treaty
                         Related Links:  Kyoto protocol
         EPA's Global Warming Site

Sources of anthropogenic CO2  Fossil fuel burning, the missing carbon

How much CO2 is arriving at the surface from volcanic activity?   see the lake Nyos movieclip  and click on my picture (needs real video)

Volcanic Sources of Carbon Dioxide: Volcanic Degassing at Mammoth

Course Outline:
==>Introduction  Roles of CO2 on earth -  Venus-Earth-Mars:
3 planets - three climates, composition of the terrestrial atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago, similarities with Venus; composition now ==> dominant influence of plant life

==> CO2  Forms of CO2 on earth - CO2 gas, H2CO3 and other  species in water; carbonate equilibria; limestone  Lecture notes 1 + 2 + problems

==> The carbon cycles: The long and the short carbon cycle, limestones, chemical weathering Lecture notes 3+4 + problemset # 2.  The long carbon cycle - readings

==> The Black Sea - an environment loaded with organic carbon
second black sea link

==> The photosynthetic process, C3 and C4 pathways, energy, chemistry

==> The isotopes of carbon 14C, 13C and 12C,  formation, applications
Isotopes of Carbon

Geochemical markers

You are what you eat



Problem Set: Calculate the "blackbody temperature" of Venus, Earth and Mars, assuming no atmosphere on these planets. The distances from the center of the sun to the center of the planets are as follows: Venus:108 million km; Earth: 150 million km; Mars:228 million km. All other constants are in the table in the back of the handout. To do it right, you can express the distance from the sun to the planets in units of solar radii. Use Boltzman and Wien, knowing that the maximum wavelength in the solar spectrum is around 0.48 micrometer.

==> The earth climate record (long-term) and variations in atmospheric CO2

==> The human impact: Increase in CO2 levels since AD 1850, ice core records, comparison with last 20,000 years

Monitoring CO2 Techniques for monitoring, analytical devices, computer data storage

Quantitative techniques  Plotting, integrating, data precision

Local versus global signals, mixing times of the atmosphere, problems with public policies

Limiting CO2 emissions The CO2 treaties (Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto)

CO2 disposal Burial in aquifers, deep ocean storage
CO2 sequestration in the deep ocean



False colour images of the world indicating the abundance of chlorophyl ("plants") on land and in the oceans
Upper figure: green areas have high biomass density, orange have little plants
Lower Figure: red zones: highest chlorophyl concentrations; blue lowest chlorophyl concentrations