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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Climate Science Glossary

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Carbon dioxide

Also: CO2, carbon dioxide

CO2

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuel combustion. Many natural processes also release and absorb CO2.

According to the AGGI, CO2 contributes 66% of the human-caused greenhouse effect and is the only greenhouse gas whose contribution is rising rapidly. This graph plots CO2 against global temperature change.

CO2 is long-lived; a large study found that natural sinks remove about 60% of it after 100 years (graph). As the ocean absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, ocean pH drops, which is called ocean acidification. CO2 is the reference gas that other greenhouse gases are measured against, so its Global Warming Potential is 1.

All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.



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