Can Carbon Cycle Save Us from Climate Change???

I was preparing for Atmospheric Chemistry’s exam when this question popped up in my mind. So, first of all, I hope you all know about our beloved Carbon Cycle. You should also know that carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas and recently its concentration in atmosphere has increased to 400ppm mainly due to human activities.

Carbon_cycle.jpg

So, now comes the question how carbon cycle acts as a thermostat for our Earth? It does so mainly by positive and negative feedback mechanisms. In positive feedback, the processes that are occurring in nature are enhanced (for example, upon increase in temperature these mechanisms support warming), while in negative feedback mechanisms, the processes are opposed (for example, upon increase in temperature these mechanisms support cooling). Maybe this figure will explain them better than I can!!

global_warming_feedback.png

 

fig13fdbk.png

Here Albedo means the reflectance of radiations from ice surfaces, thus decreased albedo means high absorbance of radiation. 

 

Now let’s observe how climate change affects carbon cycle and its feedback mechanisms.

  1. Terrestrial Environment 

carbon_cycle-animated_forest

In some areas where temperature increases due to climate change, there will be an increase in respiration by plants and this will reduce carbon storage in plants, releasing more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere (positive feedback). Though, in other areas where decrease in temperature occurs, the period of photosynthesis will increase as respiration will be slow, thus carbon will be stored from atmosphere (negative feedback). More carbon dioxide concentrations also support higher rate of photosynthesis.

Similarly, soil stores more carbon at colder temperature and high precipitation as rate of decomposition is reduced. 

This table clearly represents how various factors effect feedback mechanisms.

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2. Ocean Feedbacks
CO2 is far more soluble in colder water than in warmer water, thus warmer sea surface temperatures will affect the oceans’ ability to dissolve CO2 and their carbon chemistry. A warmer ocean might cause dissolved organic carbon to decompose faster and convert to CO2, reducing the amount of atmospheric CO2 that can be absorbed by the oceans (a positive feedback). Warming might also cause a decrease in the extent of sea ice, which could increase plankton and other marine growth in high-latitude regions. This would result in a greater uptake of atmospheric CO2, thereby acting as a negative feedback (Read more here).

Evidence exists that the relationship between climate change and carbon cycle will be very important in the future for determining emissions and carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

Super Easy Potato fritters (Aloo ke pakoray) Recipe

I can express myself in English normally, but when it comes to recipes, I have to look (more specifically google) the names of ingredients in English from Urdu. Pakoras are a very famous South Asian dish. Especially in Ramdan they are considered an essential snack for Iftar. So, here goes my mom’s recipe for making potato fritters.

pakora

Ingredients

2 medium sized potatoes (pealed and sliced into circular slices)

1 cup gram flour

1 teaspoon heaped of red chilli powder*

2 or 3 pinches of carom seeds/ ajwain

2 green chilli

Some Coriander leaves (chop into smaller pieces)

1 pinch of baking powder (sodium bicarbonate soda)

2/3 teaspoon of salt (heaped)*

*Note: If you are using a 5 ml teaspoon than there is no need of heaping, you can add leveled teaspoon. Also the salt and red chilli powder can be adjusted according to your taste. If you taste the batter you’ll know how much of these ingredients are required.

 

ecipe

Methodology

  1. First of all add all ingredient into gram flour and add a little water to form a slurry. The slurry should not be very thick or thin. Just a small amount of water will be required.
  2. Now, take a utensil or pot in which the pakoras are to be deep fried.
  3. Take a potato slice, dip it in the slurry you have made to make a cover over it, and add to the pot for deep frying.
  4. Add as much slices in the same manner that the utensil can hold.
  5. Remember that the flame should be high while adding slices, then you can turn it to medium.
  6. Deep fry until the skin becomes nearly dark brown (see the picture).
  7. Now, serve with chat masala or ketchup.

What is Coral Bleaching?

What comes to your mind when you hear the term coral bleaching? Of course, you will think of the two words separately, “coral” and “bleaching”. Bleaching will mean to you turning something into white color. Well, if you thought in the pattern mentioned above you are right (I thought like that). So, what coral bleaching is, is best explained by this infographic by NOAA.


coralbleaching-large

Now, your next question will be “What are the impacts of coral bleaching?” Here are some of the impacts this phenomenon has:

  1. Coral bleaching seriously effects the ecosystems that depend on them.
  2. Degradation of coral reef also effects the people that rely on them. People depend on reefs for food, income and enjoyment.
  3. Economically speaking, this event could cost $20 billion to over $84 billion in Net Present Value. The losses to tourism are the highest, followed by fisheries and biodiversity.reef-change-gif3