If we are putting more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere by burning captured carbon, why are we not raising the world’s air pressure?


We are continuing to add carbon and all sorts of elements into our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. If we are actively adding more gasses into the air, are we “pumping” our atmosphere up like a tire as a result? Or are we just reducing the amount of free oxygen in the air by combining it with carbon?

In: 0

We probably are, except for two things:

First, there’s no tire keeping the atmosphere in. If there’s more air it can simply expand further outwards, but more importantly, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are currently a bit over 400ppm. That is, out of a million air particles, only 400 are CO2. So even if the rest of the atmosphere was completely unchanging, we’ve only added something on the order of 0.01% more air to the atmosphere by pushing CO2 levels from 300ppm to 400.

I am no expert but from what I can comprehend, we are not creating “new atoms,” instead we are creating molecules from atoms that are already present in the earth – thus no new molecules of carbon dioxide are actually produced. We are simply transforming available carbon and oxygen atoms into carbon dioxide and other complex molecules.

We are! It’s just that the only thing containing the air is gravity. Air will fill whatever container it is in. Well this air isn’t in a container. When you increase the amount of air, it increases the pressure, the pressure exerts force in all directions, now air in the upper atmosphere goes just a tiny bit higher to bring everything back to equilibrium.

Thanks for all the information guys! It really put it into perspective.