carbon dioxide


An atmospheric gas, the product of respiration and combustion, which contributes to the natural greenhouse effect and global warming. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution by about 110 parts per million (from 278 ppm in 1750 to 390 ppm in 2010), and is now higher than at any time during at least the last 800,000 years. The annual increase in the decades 1990–1999 and 2000–2009 was 1.5ppm and 1.9ppm respectively, while the increase in 2010 was 2.4ppm. The total quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere is now about 3,000 Gt (800 Gt of carbon).

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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