Other than climate change what are some negative effects of having more CO2 in the atmosphere?



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    Hello Meghan,

    To answer your question, an increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere leads to significant changes in biotic and abiotic environments.  A good example of these changes can be witnessed in a forest as frequent cyclical changes of CO2 occur often due to photosynthesis and deforestation.  When concentrations of CO2 increase in the atmosphere, this can alter relationships between plants and soil.  They have found that in plants, elevated levels of CO2 can affect the nutrient cycle, which then has an outreaching effect on the environment as it can disrupt things like the food chain.  Admittedly, scientists concur that they need more evidence and more observation (given the long life-span of trees) to be able to conclude on any direct negative effects large concentrations of CO2 may have.  

    That being said, in an abiotic environment, there are concerns about the levels of CO2 in the ocean.  The ocean serves as the largest reservoir for CO2 when exchanging with O2 and some of the concern is that large amounts of CO2 causes changes in ocean PH balance (as CO2 is an acidic gas) that can trigger very dire effects to marine life.  Generally ocean life is very sensitive to changes, and scientists are still investigating just how badly CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere affect marine life.  Also, CO2 as an acidic gas in the air and ocean means we are likely to have acid rain.

    Other than the ocean, there is a study being done on the effects of CO2 in the arctic tundra, which I will include as a link at the bottom if you’re interested.  It talks about how observations from the arctic tundra help support evidence that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere leads to higher temperatures and serves as another example of CO2 in a given climate.

    Hope this helps!  Let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification.  I posted the links below and they are links to books or articles done on the topic that go into this topic very deeply.  There is a lot of scientific jargon but they are really well-done research on CO2.


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