Importance Of Carbon Dioxide

Published: 06th October 2009
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Importance Of Carbon Dioxide
As we all know carbon dioxide consists of two atoms of oxygen and one atom of carbon. At room temperature, carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas which is non-flammable and is faintly acidic. It is also found in the solid and liquid forms. It becomes solid when the temperature is -78 Celsius. When pressure is applied the gaseous form of carbon dioxide can dissolve in water. If the pressure drops the gaseous form of carbon dioxide tries to escape to air thus forming bubbles.
Carbon dioxide is found abundantly in the atmosphere. Through respiration and photosynthesis carbon dioxide plays an important role in the lives of animals and plants. With the help of photosynthesis plants make their own food. But excess of carbon dioxide creates health problems apart from environmental problems. Today humans are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide by cutting down forests, burning of fossil fuels ETC. Also increased production of cement is contributing to the increase in carbon dioxide.
One of the most debated environmental problems today is global warming.
Troposphere forms the lower part of the atmosphere. It is about 10 -15 kilometers thick. The gasses that are found in the troposphere are called greenhouse gasses. They absorb the heat generated through sunlight when it reaches the earth and trap it. This results in warming up of earth. This greenhouse effect as it is commonly known has been present in the atmosphere for a long time. This has been confirmed by the researches conducted in laboratories and atmospheric measurements.
As we know life in earth is possible only because of this greenhouse effect as it regulates the temperature of earth. The life on earth will be threatened if the greenhouse effect will diminish. This will result in the whole earth being covered with ice. Carbon dioxide along with nitrogen oxide and methane are most important gases of greenhouse effect.
The temperature on earth is determined by the amount of heat trapped in the troposphere. The concentration and the amount of time these gasses remain in the atmosphere determine the amount of heat generated.
As the industrial revolution began in 1850 there has been an alarming rise in emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The concentration of carbon dioxide which was about 280 ppm in 1850 rose to 364 ppm in 1998 mainly because of the activities due to industrial revolution. This has given rise to a severe environmental problem as mentioned earlier that of global warming. Due to global warming the ice is melting on the poles and there are increased activities of storms. This is resulting in the floods and other related problems. Carbon dioxide contributes 50 to 60% towards global warming.
In a human body carbon dioxide is necessary for internal respiration. It is the guardian of the pH of the blood which in turn is necessary for survival. The carbonate buffer can neutralize hydroxide ions which would increase or decrease the pH of the blood. The increase or decrease of pH of the blood is fatal.
Carbon dioxide can be cause of some bad health effects. One of the most dangerous is Asphyxiation. This is caused due to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the areas which are confined and are not properly ventilated. This lowers the concentration of oxygen and thus is life threatening. Frostbite is also caused by the unwanted concentration of carbon dioxide. The unwanted concentration of carbon dioxide can also affect the kidney and may result in coma.

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