Q:

Where does carbon dioxide come from?

A:

Carbon dioxide is generated through the oxidation of carbon or carbon compounds, including combustion and cellular respiration. Carbon dioxide is also released into the atmosphere when water thaws, as well as during volcanic eruptions. While many fear its theorized effects on global temperatures, carbon dioxide is absolutely essential to the vast majority of life on Earth.

The vast majority of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from natural sources. Animals and microbes together release about the same amount of carbon dioxide as plants, while the oceans are the greatest single source. Only about 4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from artificial human sources. Carbon dioxide currently constitutes about 0.03 percent of Earth's atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is one of the crucial inputs for producers at the base of almost every food chain. The basic mechanism of photosynthesis is the use of solar energy to bond water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. Plants grow faster at higher carbon dioxide levels, since most of their structures are built from carbohydrates. Carbon dioxide is toxic to humans at higher concentrations,but normal atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, even with any conceivable increase due to human activity, are far too low to risk toxicity.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is carbon dioxide nonpolar?

    A:

    Carbon dioxide is nonpolar because its bonds are symmetrical, according to Elmhurst College's Virtual Chembook. The bonds between the carbon and two oxygen atoms are polar; however, the entire molecule is nonpolar because the partial charges cancel each other.

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  • Q:

    What is carbon dioxide?

    A:

    Carbon dioxide is a colorless, non-organic compound that is a gas at room temperature and comprises about 0.03 percent of Earth's atmosphere. It is produced when materials that contain carbon are combusted, and it is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases that trap heat within the Earth's atmosphere.

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  • Q:

    Why is carbon dioxide important?

    A:

    Carbon dioxide is important because it is used in photosynthesis, a process that is necessary for the survival of life on Earth. Carbon dioxide is also a vital greenhouse gas that helps trap heat in the atmosphere, and it plays a key role in Earth's carbon cycle.

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  • Q:

    Where does seaweed come from?

    A:

    Seaweeds used in food and herbal medicine come from multicellular marine algae species that grow from the seabed as well as in many lakes and rivers. The term "seaweed" collectively refers to many varieties of plants that don't all share a common origin.

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