COLLOQUIUM: Human Impacts on the Earth’s Geologic Carbon Cycle
When fossil fuel CO2 is released to the atmosphere, it essentially accumulates in the relatively rapidly cycling atmosphere / ocean / land biosphere carbon cycle. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 spikes through a time period of CO2 emissions, then is expected to slowly decline over the centuries as CO2 invades the ocean. The “lifetime” of fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is a complicated question because there are multiple processes operating, but in general the CO2 concentration will be higher than natural for hundreds of thousands of years.
Some components of the climate system, such as the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, will respond most strongly to the “long tail” of the fossil fuel CO2, ultimately raising sea level by 10’s of meters, something like 100 times more than the IPCC forecast for the year 2100. The interaction of the long tail with orbital forcing has the capacity to alter the trajectory of the glacial / interglacial cycles for hundreds of thousands of years into the future.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2014-2015 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.
- Carol Ann Austin 609-243-2484