Climate Change

Global Warming

Does all carbon dioxide released as pollution remain in the atmosphere?

No, not at all. A lot of it is reabsorbed by plants, as well as the oceans, where it turns into carbonic acid. Forests and oceans can only do so much, however, especially when people are cutting down forests all over the planet. It only takes one acre of forest to absorb about 13 tons of gas and particle pollutants annually. What is not absorbed remains in the atmosphere, and people are producing so much CO2 and other pollutants that there is a net gain in global warming gases.

Water vapor concentrations and distribution in the atmosphere is a factor in global warming that has twice the impact of carbon dioxide levels. This satellite image depicts water vapor distribution during the fall of 2005, with the brighter shades of blue indicating water vapor at higher elevations. (NASA/JPL)

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