Well, we know that there are two major processes involving plants and carbon dioxide – photosynthesis and plant respiration. Plants take in CO2 and ‘breathe’ out oxygen constantly, this has nothing to do with time of day. But photosynthesis, in which plants make oxygen and glucose from sunlight/water/CO2 ONLY occurs during daylight hours, since sunlight is a requirement. So if the levels of carbon dioxide being produced around the world are constant, and the amount of that CO2 being absorbed by plants is much lower at night (due to no photosynthesis taking place) than during the day, you would have to conclude that there is more CO2 in our atmosphere during nighttime hours.
At least one study (in the cited ref) suggests that the idea that photosynthetic action is indeed responsible for most (73%) of the daily variation in carbon dioxide. Other smaller factors include the rate of gas exchange across air-water interfaces, and water temperature.
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