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Energy: Carbon Dioxide Emissions

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Donoughue Lord Donoughue Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the mean residential time of anthropogenically emitted carbon dioxide in the simulated atmospheres of the general circulation models that are run by the Met Office.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Carbon dioxide does not have a mean residence time in the atmosphere as there are a range of processes that exchange carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and other carbon reservoirs, operating on a wide range of time-scales. An indication of residence time can be seen from experiments using the Met Office Hadley Centre's Earth system model, HadGEM2-ES, in which for the current climate, the fraction of a pulse of carbon dioxide remaining in the modelled atmosphere after 20 and 100 years is 62% and 45% respectively1. This compares closely with other models used in the experiments in the paper referenced.

1 Joos et al. 2013, Carbon dioxide and climate impulse response functions for the computation of greenhouse gas metrics: a multi-model analysis. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 2793-2825. doi:10.5194/acp-I 3-2793-2013.

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