• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

The Role of Carbon Dioxide

March 4, 2005

CARBON dioxide is a so-called “greenhouse”gas, meaning that it – along with othergases such as water vapor, methane, nitrousoxide and ozone – works like a greenhouse.When the sun heats the earth, greenhousegases trap in the atmosphere the heat energyradiating from the planet.This greenhouse effect is necessary tokeep earth at an average temperature of 60degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Otherwise, life as we know it would not be possible.Carbon dioxide therefore plays an importantrole in regulating temperature on a globalscale.However, since the beginning of the industrialrevolution, concentrations of the gas in theatmosphere have increased an estimated 20-30% because of the burning of fossil fuels (oil,gas and coal).What this increase means is one of thecornerstones of the global warming discussion.Because plants use sunlight to transformcarbon dioxide and water into carbohydratesduring photosynthesis, and vegetation is abundantand fast growing in the tropics, tropicalforests play a particularly large role when itcomes to maintaining a balance betweenatmospheric carbon dioxide and oxygen.Forests also produce carbon dioxide.Carbon is found in all living things. Itexists in the greatest levels in sediments andoceans. When plants and animals breath, dieand decay, their carbon is released back intothe atmosphere as carbon dioxide, or it isreleased as fossil fuels (during decay) or asinorganic compounds such as calcium carbonate(limestone).All of this together, including plants’absorption of carbon dioxide, is called the carboncycle, and it is one key to understandingthe true breadth of human impact on climatechange and the possible effects.“The importance of tropical forest in thecarbon cycle is known, but it is not quantified,”said eco-physiologist Javier Espeleta, aresearcher with the Organization for TropicalStudies (OTS).

You may be interested

Pic of the Day: The magical Río Celeste waterfall
Costa Rica
2 views
Costa Rica
2 views

Pic of the Day: The magical Río Celeste waterfall

The Tico Times - May 12, 2021

It's called Río Celeste for a reason. Tenorio Volcano National Park is home to this stunning waterfall and vivid blue…

Costa Rica surpasses 1 million vaccine doses administered
Costa Rica
16683 views
Costa Rica
16683 views

Costa Rica surpasses 1 million vaccine doses administered

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 12, 2021

Costa Rica has administered 1,093,931 doses of coronavirus vaccines, authorities said Tuesday. More than 436,000 people have completed the vaccine…

Costa Rica travel alert issued by the U.S. Embassy
Costa Rica
1708 views
Costa Rica
1708 views

Costa Rica travel alert issued by the U.S. Embassy

The Tico Times - May 12, 2021

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica on Tuesday issued a travel alert detailing possible protests and Covid-19 updates. As…

The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate