English, Article edition: Global stability of atmospheric oxygen Duursma, Egbert K.; Boisson, Michel P. R. M.

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Physical Description
  • article
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • Global stability of atmospheric oxygen
Author
  • Duursma, Egbert K.
  • Boisson, Michel P. R. M.
Physical Description
  • article
Notes
  • The atmospheric oxygen reserve is so huge that, in the short term of hundreds or thousands of years, only minor changes can be expected due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation. Each oxygen molecule passes through a living organism, on average, only once in 9000 years. As a consequence, the fastest regulating system must take of the order of hundreds of years. Nevertheless, it is possible that the actual oxygen level is not necessarily at the optimum level for life, but is just an accidental one in the course of the earth's history. Tropical forests are not the of the earth in terms of hundreds of years, but only on a much longer time scale, likewise for all other vegetation which produce humus and the long-term fossil carbon. The driving force is related to the slight differences caused by external factors between photosynthesis and respiration, with subsequent organic matter deposition or consumption for short time regulation of hundreds of years; while, for periods of millions of years, the regulation depends on changes of weathering or burial of fossil sedimentary organic matter.
  • RePEc:cup:eurrev:v:1:y:1993:i:03:p:217-229_00
Language
  • English
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