Carbon Dioxide And Its Effect On Earth 's World

3200 Words Apr 27th, 2015 13 Pages
In today’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide (CO2) amounts to 400 parts per million (ppm), but it hasn 't always been that high, or low, depending on what we are comparing it to. It is a trace gas that is vital to Earth’s atmosphere and has been around since the creation of Earth’s first atmosphere, which occurred shortly after the planet’s creation. The advent of Earth’s second atmosphere happened when lighter gases such as hydrogen escaped into space or were bound to molecules, leaving gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and other gases that were the product of volcanism to make up the majority of the atmosphere. This volcanic activity was fueled by gases that came to Earth following the “late heavy bombardment of huge asteroids”. Following that, cyanobacteria started to photosynthesize and create oxygen, which eventually led to the “Great Oxygen Event”. This event caused one of the significant mass extinctions in the Earth’s history, killing off almost all of the anaerobic organisms. Once this oxygen reacted with another greenhouse gas, methane (NH4), it significantly reduced methane’s concentration and caused the “Huronian Glaciation”, which may be the longest “Snowball Earth” episode in history. This phenomenon was characterized by a complete freeze-over of the Earth, lasting close to 300 million years. Over a long period of time these anaerobic organisms began to evolve and consume oxygen, leading to the equilibrium of free oxygen. The new atmosphere this created 2.4 billion…
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