Saturday, October 22, 2011

Carbon Dioxide- A Not so Well Mixed Gas

In an atmosphere without significant water, carbon dioxide would be a very well mixed gas. Earth’s atmosphere has water in all phases and at different concentrations. This greatly complicates solutions for the changes in relative conductive and radiant properties of the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide rains out in areas with high humidity and precipitation. The rate of diffusion varies with temperature and pressure from well mixed gas ratio to regions where CO2 is depleted via rain out. Using global averages provides good results, but for regional evaluation, the changes and rates of change in CO2 must be considered.

The Antarctic with its low precipitation rate and very cold climate offers a baseline for CO2 change in the overall atmosphere. It is in the Antarctic where the impact of CO2 on conductive flux is most evident and the impact on radiant flux more over estimated. The blend of underestimated conductive change and over-estimated radiant change are uniquely Antarctic.

While theories are plentiful, the reality is hard to determine. Sublimation cannot be completely ruled out on a microscopic scale, due to conditions available between the Antarctic Tropopause and the surface temperatures and pressures.

The exact psychometric relationships will require a great deal of further study. However, as tropospheric temperatures can approach -95C and the temperature and pressures of the Antarctic can be less than -60C at 1020mb, microscopic sublimation is possible provided a deposition substrate of a few atoms can be found. Microscopic carbonic snow, an interesting theory for idle moments.

Carbon dioxide concentration lags between Antarctic and Mona Loa would be much more easily analyzed.'

With a reliable estimate of the changes in carbon dioxide change, the Poisson Equation can be adjusted to the specified thermal properties of the atmosphere regionally, adding greatly to the utility of the Kimoto equation.


Bill Collinge said...


Your post doesn't include any numbers on the variation of CO2 concentrations. I noticed that the HIPPO paper shows variation of only about 20 ppm or less when they did their pole-to-pole transects (Wofsy et al, Phil Trans A, 2011: doi: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0313). The higher concentrations were found near the South Pole and it was January 2009.

How does this mesh with your post?

Dallas said...

Quite well Bill. The largest measured changes are in the northern hemispshere. The most stable in the Antarctic. What is not shown is the dynamic changes in the ETCZ.

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