General, Research, Technology

Humans produce more carbon dioxide than all the volcanoes on the planet.

Scientists believe that volcanic activitycan lead, and in the distant past has already led to the extinction of various species of animals. The results of recent studies show that in the Triassic period, which precedes the Jurassic, a series of volcanic eruptions joined the impacts of meteorites. Researchers estimate that these eruptions altogether destroyed nearly 60% of the species. Compared to such events, it is hard to imagine how we humans can influence the weather systems of the planet. But according to scientific research, we produce 40 to 100 times more CO2 than all volcanoes on Earth. So, since the time of the industrial revolution, people released more CO2 into the atmosphere than the fall of the asteroid Chiksulub, which caused global warming of 100,000 years.

We are certainly small, but we are very many

The week before last, the Deep Carbon Observatorypublished the results of a 10-year research project in the journal Elements, the purpose of which was to find out how much carbon is on Earth and where it is stored. Thus, they also sought to get a scale of how people influence the Earth’s carbon cycle. Some of their results speak for themselves.


  • 1 carbon dioxide emission
  • 2 Asteroid Fall
  • 3 Volcanic Eruption
  • 4 Anthropogenic factor

Carbon dioxide emission

Although we mainly hear about carbon dioxide inatmosphere, it’s just a tiny fraction of the carbon stored on Earth. In fact, all the carbon and carbon dioxide above the surface - in the oceans, forests, soils and the atmosphere - is only 0.2% of all carbon on the planet. The rest is 1.85 billion gigatonscarbon - located below the surface, and almost two-thirds of all carbon - in the dense core of the Earth. But in the early days of our cosmic home, everything was completely different. The early atmosphere, by today's standards, was saturated with carbon dioxide. Everything has changed with the advent of life on our planet.

Great impact on the amount of CO2 in the early Earthplants appeared - for millions of years they pulled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and when they were buried underground, say, under mud, they did not collapse and their carbon was not released back into the atmosphere. So, carbon buried underground formed oil, coal and gas. These processes lasted for ages, as a result of which the Earth's crust and mantle became enriched in carbon, and the atmosphere - relatively low in CO2.

It is interesting: the largest volcano in Europe woke up in Italy

Today, according to researchers, about 315 million gigatons of carbon are stored in the earth's crust and upper mantle. According to experts, everything would be in balance and further - over the last billion years - if not for three factors that cause serious concern.

Asteroid crash

Asteroid has changed the climate on our planet beyond recognition

Although you might think that a direct hit by a massivea meteorite on the Earth’s surface will be able to destroy us all in order to disrupt the carbon cycle of our planet, this space guest would need additional factors - a single hit on the earth is not enough. Scientists recently proved that the asteroid Chiksulub, which fell on the Yucatan Peninsula, destroyed dinosaurs. I spoke in more detail in the previous article. After this blow, global cooling was caused by the release of sulfate into the atmosphere. But sulfate is short-lived and quickly washed out of the atmosphere in the form of acid rain. But CO2 is not. The increased level of carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere after the impact of the asteroid raised the global temperature to 5 degrees Celsius by about 100,000 years. For more articles on what geological processes on Earth can cause the extinction of wildlife, read on our channel in Yandex.Zen

Volcanic eruption

Volcanic eruptions certainly emit carbon dioxide

The second that can disrupt the carbon cycle of the Earth- these are volcanoes. One of the largest volcanic events in geological history occurred just over 250 million years ago, in Siberia. These eruptions emitted greenhouse gases and the temperature was 10 degrees higher than today, and the oceans became very acidic. Few species on the planet survived. But you and I have never encountered large volcanoes or meteorites destroying the planet.

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Anthropogenic factor

Human activities cause rapid climate change

As you probably know, a stormy humanthe activity caused the release of more CO2 into the atmosphere than from the impact of the asteroid Chiksulub. The impact of the asteroid released a comparable amount of carbon into the atmosphere that we have released since the industrial revolution. By digging and burning carbon from the earth's crust as fossil fuels, we are destroying carbon absorption zones. Thus, we are shifting the existing carbon balance - from the earth's crust back to the atmosphere. As we continue to burn fossil fuels and forests, we move the scales of the Earth’s carbon balance farther and farther, and the consequences of our activities will probably remain longer than 100,000 years. About how our world will be by 2050 if the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere does not decrease, read our material.

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