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Carbon Dioxide

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Carbon Dioxide Definition Glossary of Environmental Terms - Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide : Carbon dioxide is a molecule consisting of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. This molecule is a common by-product of animal and plant respiratory functions and is found naturally in the Earth's atmosphere as a gas. Carbon Dioxide is also required by plants for photosynthesis in which the molecule is used in combination with water to create cellulose and sugars. Since much of life depends on the production and movement of carbon dioxide gas, it's considered an essential component of the carbon cycle, a term used to describe the movement of carbon in and out of life. The carbon cycle is essential to life on Earth.
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Global Warming is based on the increase of average surface temperatures and those of the oceans. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that, between 1905 and 2005, the average surface temperature of the Earth rose approximately 0.74 degrees Celsius, or 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit. They concluded that this rise in temperature was most likely due to increases in greenhouse gases over the last one hundred years.

Although the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide naturally fluctuate with changes in temperature, seasons, and decay, the average amount of carbon dioxide gas on Earth has risen in recent history as a result of burning fossil fuels. This rise originated with the industrial revolution and the mass-use of fossil fuels worldwide. Although some increases in carbon dioxide have been linked to burning of coal and the large-scale burning of forests in tropical areas, much of the increase has been attributed to the finding and burning of oil and gas.

Considered one of the major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide helps to contain heat and energy within the Earth's atmosphere. As a result, scientists consider this gas a major contributor to global warming. National and international regulations help to curb the output of carbon dioxide from residential and commercial industries and vehicles, but experts agree that more needs to be done to lower the rising levels of this gas in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is also a common gas used to create the bubbles in carbonated beverages like soft drinks and seltzer. Since it pressurizes easily and is not flammable, carbon dioxide is also used for quick inflation of life vests and for small pressurized systems like paint ball guns and model cars.

Also called : Carbon or Carbon Gases.
More Carbon Dioxide Information : Environmentalists or Environmental Articles

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