[Coral-List] Climate Change

Ruben van Hooidonk ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov
Thu Nov 3 18:18:06 EDT 2016


There are so many different sources out there and part of the misunderstanding might come from our language differences. CO2 is not the same as carbon see: 
The atomic weight of carbon is 12 atomic mass units, while the weight of carbon dioxide is 44, because it includes two oxygen atoms that each weigh 16. So, to switch from one to the other, use the formula: One ton of carbon equals 44/12 = 11/3 = 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide.

Co2.earth states that emissions in 2014 from burning fossil fuels were:
9.795 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon in 2014 (that equals 35.9 Gt of CO2)

And climate.gov states that volcanoes emit per year: 
0.3 ± 0.15 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

But: In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English.

So what is going on with volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions?

A gigatonne is equal to 1 billion tonnes (1,000,000,000), fossil fuels emit ~100 more CO2 than volcanoes.

> On Nov 3, 2016, at 10:46 PM, Anne Cohen <acohen at whoi.edu> wrote:
> Global carbon project estimate for 2012 carbon emissions is 8-9 GT
> 2003 was less than that 
> I don't know where 26.8 comes from?
> Either way - both estimates are significantly higher than volcano  
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Nov 3, 2016, at 2:21 PM, Ruben van Hooidonk <ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov> wrote:
>> Hi, 
>> Here are the numbers provided by USGS:
>> Volcanoes emit about 200 million tonnes of CO2 a year, the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 emitted more than 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value.
>> We need to to decarbonize our economies now so nature can take its course!
>> http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2007/07_02_15.html
>> Glad I could clear that up.
>> Ruben
>>> On Nov 2, 2016, at 2:37 PM, Bill Raymond <billraymond10 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>> Regarding climate change, a few years ago I looked up in a USGS website the contribution of greenhouse gases contributed to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels compared to volcanoes, and it was 6/200 billion tons. I don't see that any more but I noticed in the IPCC just about the opposite figures, phrased differently. I can't help but wonder why it is such a political issue. I say let nature take its course. 
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