How would you explain the correlation between #CO_2# emissions and heat on Earth?

2 Answers
Jun 6, 2017

Generally, the accepted explanation is that the “Greenhouse Effect” of infrared radiation trapped by atmospheric carbon dioxide contributes to a rise in temperatures.


FIRST, be VERY careful about confusing correlation and causation! Causation will necessarily result n correlations, but observed correlations do NOT imply any causative effect. That must be determined by other experiments.

The Greenhouse Model calculates a temperature increase due to
incremental changes in carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.
The actual temperature values are influenced by many other factors so a direct calculation based solely on #CO_2# concentration data will be erroneous.

However, we can qualitatively say that if a contributor to atmospheric warming is increased, the atmospheric temperature is also likely to increase – barring any other changes that would affect the temperature.

Jun 6, 2017

All other factors being equal an increase in Carbon Dioxide emission will result in an increase in temperature.


Carbon dioxide acts an absorber of solar energy trapping some of the solar energy in the atmosphere causing an increase in temperature.

However Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants and the water. So an increase in Carbon dioxide emission will result not only in an increase in temperature but also an increase in plant growth, increased levels of Carbon Dioxide dissolved in the ocean and an increase in corals and other shell fish that use Carbon Dioxide.

The fossil record shows that in earlier times the earth was much warmer with much higher #CO_2# levels. These times were when the vast coal deposits of the earth were made because of increased plant production.

40% of Kentucky and other parts of the earth have thick layers of limestone formed by ancient coral reefs when the #CO_2# levels were higher than they are today.

So an increase in Carbon Dioxide will cause an increase in temperature but the climate will be balanced by the absorption of the Carbon Dioxide by plants and the oceans.