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CO2 and Global Warming and the Ocean

CO2 and Global Warming and the Ocean

The download article at left is in the form of a PDF. Before this article was published (in 1969) there was much speculation about how carbon dioxide (a gas that can react chemically with water) could be absorbed by the ocean.


This is some of the earliest work to postulate the mechanism(s) controlling the CO2 exchange rate through the ocean's surface. This study was carried out long before anybody worried about global warming. The main use of this research at that time was to explain how CO2 got into and out of the lungs. Now it pointedly pertains to the global problem of CO2 build-up in the atmosphere. How much and how fast can the ocean absorb it?


This is NOT a novel.




This experiment was done in a wind tunnel water tank with radioactive carbon dioxide (C14) used as a tracer to study the transfer of CO2 from water to air to examine how gas goes from one phase to another. (Turns out there's a "membrane" on the surface of liquids that it has to "diffuse" through. The "thickness" of the membrane depends on the air speed going over it and determines how fast the carbon dioxide gets out.)


This was done in an Oceanography graduate school, but by accident the mechanism I stumbled across also applied to how carbon dioxide gets back and forth from the blood, through the lungs, and into the air (which it turned out doctors WERE interested in). Back before Xerox, university people wrote each other for "reprints" and when the paper came out I got "reprint requests" from medical research schools all over the world and it took me a long time to figure out why on earth they cared. (At the time I had no idea, but smarter people did.)


Since then this article has been cited over eighty times (and counting) in the scientific literature, referred to as the Hoover Mechanism.



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