The Carbon Cycle

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Consider the following questions on the carbon cycle:
[2 pts] Assume that the atmospheric reservoir of CO2 contains 830 Gt of carbon, and the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere is 180 Gt of carbon per year. What is the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere? (Give units)
The residence time of CO2 in this atmospheric reservoir is 4.61 years.

[6 pts] Using the concepts we’ve discussed in class, explain two temporal patterns that you observe in the figure below and the processes that govern them.
Seasonality is exemplified by the red line spiking above and below the black line. Seasonality is representative of the Earth’s revolution around the Sun paired with the Earth’s tilt, which allows various amounts of sunlight depending
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This graph would look very similar, as everyone on Earth shares the same atmosphere that regularly circulates; however the patterns associated with seasonality would be opposite because season cycles are opposite in the different hemispheres of our planet.
Consider the following questions on climate forcings and feedbacks:
[6 pts] What are two ways that clouds affect Earth’s radiation balance? Be sure to indicate whether they impact radiative flux in or out in each case. Clouds effect Earth’s radiation balance going in and out of the system. Radiative flux is moving in when the Sun’s radiation reaches the clouds some energy is reflected while the rest passes through the cloud to the Earth’s surface, more radiation is reflected by lower clouds. Radiative flux is moving out when the Earth’s radiation reaches the clouds some energy is reflected back to the surface while the rest passes through the cloud headed further into the atmosphere, more radiation is trapped by lower clouds.

[4 pts] Explain why water vapor changes are considered a feedback and not a
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For portions (b) through (d) of this question, please refer to the figure below that plots δ18O-CaCO3 versus time from an ocean sediment core (from Zachos et al. 2008):
[6 pts] Over geologic time the Earth’s continents have shifted position. Provide and explain 3 reasons why the position of the continents affects the average temperature of the Earth.
1 The position of the continents directly relates to the layout of the ocean; therefore there is an obvious impact on ocean circulation. Ocean circulation largely determines heat distribution therefore, the position of the continents indirectly effects global heat distribution.
2 Tectonic activity commonly causes movement in the carbon cycle as volcanoes and ocean
In contrast subduction zones and ocean rifts take in carbon dioxide as well, but the net effect of high tectonic activity is higher global CO2 levels. A net rise in global CO2 levels indicates an increase in temperature.
3 Ice and albedo are also largely dependent on the position of the continents. Hell, the biggest reason that the Antarctic ice cap formed was because it was so isolated by other continents, in addition to the cold temperature in polar regions. As ice forms the albedo rises which forces a decrease in temperature, allowing more ice to

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