Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Professor Rood speaks on greenhouse gases with The Conversation

Posted: December 11, 2014

Professor Rood speaks on greenhouse gases with The Conversation

Professor Richard Rood wrote an article on greenhouse gases for The Conversation, an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community.

The article is titled, “What would happen to the climate if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today?” It states “Earth’s climate is changing rapidly. We know this from billions of observations, documented in thousands of journal papers and texts and summarized every few years by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The primary cause of that change is the release of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas.”

The article continues, “What would happen to the climate if we were to stop emitting carbon dioxide today, right now? Would we return to the climate of our elders? The simple answer is no. Once we release the carbon dioxide stored in the fossil fuels we burn, it accumulates in and moves amongst the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, and the plants and animals of the biosphere. The released carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Only after many millennia will it return to rocks, for example, through the formation of calcium carbonate – limestone – as marine organisms' shells settle to the bottom of the ocean. But on time spans relevant to humans, once released the carbon dioxide is in our environment essentially forever. It does not go away, unless we, ourselves, remove it.”

To read the full piece, please visit The Conversation.

(Image Credit: NASA Goddard)

The Conversation

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