Please note that we cannot work in New
May 16, 2009
I have totally avoided the use of
exponants. I have tried to estimate the movement of carbon, instead of carbon
dioxide (Carbon weighs 27% of Carbon Dioxide). When I refer to carbon, I mean the carbon
that is in carbon dioxide.
I found my starting numbers on the internet, tried to use good sources. If you have better numbers, please let me know. .
Please note that I will not be presenting any opinions on this webpage. Only numbers.
To get a rough idea of the carbon inventory in North America, I found the amounts of fossil fuels that are used annually(oil, natural gas, and coal)...converted the amounts to carbon, assume that all of the carbon goes into the atmosphere, and then divide by 365 days in a year to see how much, approximately, goes into the air in a day.
And, to get a small handle on the absorption of carbon, I calculated how much carbon is absorbed by the forests and the all of the crops. The reference that I found for the acres of forests did not have a definition for the word forest. Are the trees in parks included? small parks? large parks, like the Adirondact Park, I think would be included, but probably the trees in Central Park would not be. And the trees in suburbia? I do not think these were included.
I also estimated carbon emissions from forest fires and volcanoes, and carbon absorbtion by the tundra in northern Canada and Alaska
Oil, gas, coal, crops, trees, volcanoes, tundra, forest fires.....how much carbon do they give or take from the atmosphere? Take a look at this spreadsheet if this interests you:
Copies of the references: naci references
If this article generates interest, we can add to it, and learn more about our world......how many cows are in North America? sheep? horses? how much CO2 do they exhale? How many acres of soybeans? wheat? apples?......how many microbes per acre? how much CO2 do they exhale? How many forest fires? and don't forget about the bugs and the birds, dogs, cats, ferrets, and most of all, the people....
The most important thing we can learn about trying to make a complete carbon inventory for the world is that it cannot be done. Too many unknowns, too many variables.....What I have tried to do is to take some of the big items, find out how much carbon they give or receive, and maybe that can help us to understand the world a little bit........
So far, I have researched the web, done some calculations(see the above linked spreadsheet), and here are some preliminary estimations:
carbon emissions from the consumption of
carbon emissions from forest fires in
carbon emissions from municipal
carbon emissions from
carbon absorbed by the forests
carbon absorbed by all of the crops
carbon absorbed by the
*carbon that is lost by our ecosystems and
enters the atmosphere is a negative number and carbon that is gained
"To judge the direction of the wind, it is enough to look at a single blade of grass."-Daisetz T. Suzuki
"You don't have to be a weatherman to
know which way the wind blows" - Bob Dylan