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Are oxygen levels declining?

  1. Apr 30, 2008 #1
    This was prompted by another thread which got me thinking.

    If CO2 levels are increasing then surely O2 levels must be decreasing?

    I mean I am just going by basic chemistry, we have hydrocarbons (fossil fuels) where
    are being burnt and I believe the basic formula is:-

    Hydrogen and Carbon (from fossil fuels) + O2 (from atmosphere)= CO2 + H20.

    So it would seem to a 'layman' like me that if CO2 is increasing then O2 must be decreasing?

    The only source of O2 that I am aware of is plants, but I believe they have to take CO2
    out of the atmosphere to make O2, so if CO2 is increasing then O2 (oxygen) must be decreasing?

    I did a bit of chemistry so I think that is right.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2008 #2

    vanesch

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    I remember having read such an observation somewhere in the 4th assesment report of the IPCC (physical basis blah blah). One sees indeed a small decrease in O2 levels qualitatively in correlation with the CO2 rise, although it is at the limit of what is measurable.
     
  4. Apr 30, 2008 #3

    russ_watters

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    Ie, remember that CO2 concentration is measured in parts per million while O2 is measured in percent.
     
  5. Apr 30, 2008 #4

    vanesch

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    Yes, that's why this observation was so difficult...
     
  6. Apr 30, 2008 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    [tex]CO_2[/tex] concetrations vary from winter to summer in a given year - peaking in winter; lower in summer due to increased photosynthesis during spring and summer.

    Due in part to the northern hemisphere has more vegetated land mass than does the southern hemisphere.

    FWIW.
     
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