By John E. Hobbs
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Extra resources for Applied Climatology. A Study of Atmospheric Resources
The oceans contain about 60 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere, but for them to reach a new equilibrium with a larger atmospheric content there has to be an exchange between the upper levels of the oceans (100 to 1000 m) and the deep ocean water (Kellogg, 1977). It has been estimated that this process takes at least 1000 years, and Keeling (1977) estimates a decay time for atmospheric carbon dioxide of 1500 years. Thus, even if we could stop releasing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel in say the next century, we would still find the incremental carbon dioxide lingering in the atmosphere at a very slowly diminish ing concentration for many centuries.
In the drought-afflicted zone of northern Africa, however, figures ranged down to 40 per cent ^nd were under 25 per cent in the Cape Verde Islands (Lamb, 1974). These rainfall fluctuations seem to constitute a phenomenon of global extent, character ized by a narrow zone of increased rainfall near the equator and some approach to symmetrical adjustments in both hemispheres on either side. The greatest recent reduc tions of rainfall have been near the tropics, with perhaps the most general increases in high latitudes.
Most models predict a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration in about 50 to 75 years. There are considerable uncertainties, however, in model representations of the carbon cycle. One area of uncertainty, for example, concerns the estimates of natural flux rates of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. It is not at all unHkely that currently observed increases in carbon dioxide levels are due at least in part to a slight variation in source (and/or sink) strengths of the natural cycle.
Applied Climatology. A Study of Atmospheric Resources by John E. Hobbs