Global Carbon Cycle

Lecture content:

The ongoing rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to warming of the Earth. In this course we will start with an overview about the current rise in greenhouse gases, future projections, and the attempts to limit it, and with future projections of climate change in the 21st century contained in the recent IPCC report. In the course of the lecture we will then try to understand how changes in atmospheric CO2 lead to changes in temperature, today, in the future and during past climates. This influence is not a one-way-street, however, so we will also try to understand also, how climate has influenced that carbon cycle over earth's history. For this aim the cycling of carbon through the main important reservoirs (atmosphere, terrestrial biosphere, ocean, ocean sediments) will be investigated.

Topics covered:

- Introduction, Overview on C data sets, time scales
- Radiative forcing- Emission scenarios and the future
- Terrestrial biosphere I
- Terrestrial biosphere II
- Gas Exchange Ocean --- Atmosphere
- Ocean 1, Dissolved Inorganic Carbon
- Ocean 2, Organic Carbon
- Ocean 3, CaCO3 cycle
- Orbital Forcing
- The Holocene, last 10,000 yr
- The Pleistocene, last 2,000,000 yr
- Weathering and The Phanerozoic, last 600,000,00 yr


There is no mandatory reading, but the course content is to a large part based upon the following three books:

Principles of Planetary Climate: Raymond Pierrehumbert
Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics: Jorge L. Sarmiento & Nicolas Gruber
Earth's Climate: Past and Future: William F. Ruddiman