Air Chemistry and Radioactivity by Christian E Junge

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By Christian E Junge

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We refer to the latest of a series of papers on this subject, that of Callendar in 1958, in which he very systematically selects the reliable sources and arrives at the conclusion that prior to 1900 the average CO, concentration in the northern hemisphere was 290 ppm and that since then there is proof of a fairly constant increase up to the present time. 8. The secular increase of GO,, according to Callendar (1958). The solid line represents the average of the observations and the dashed line the expected increase by fossil fuel consumption since the middle of the last century, according to Revelle and Suess (1957).

The variation of these profiles with season and latitude is most interesting and important for stratospheric meteorology. Since the number of balloon flights is still not large enough to give reliable average values for various seasons and latitudes, and since individual flights are quite variable, we have plotted idealized curves in Fig. 12 to represent the present state of knowledge, based primarily on Paetzold’s (1953 b ) data. The general features of these profiles have been confirmed by the more numerous but less accurate Umkehr data of various recent investigations (Diitsch, 1959; Ramanathan and Kulkarni, 1960).

There are a number of such processes which are of interest. Revelle and Suess (1957) pointed out and Kanwisher (1960) demonstrated that the CO, concentration of the atmosphere should be very sensitive to changes of the temperature of ocean surface waters. The same should be true for changes in the reservoir of carbon in the soil and in the amount of organic matter in the ocean. The estimates indicate that the increase in arable land since the middle of the 19th century might have resulted in a 4% increase of atmospheric CO,, and that a 1% change in the concentration of organic material in the sea might have the same result.

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