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Climate change: what lies beneath

Carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in water, and plants use it in photosynthesis.  These facts have limited the impact of human use of fossil fuels, the burning of which generate CO2.  Scientists are increasingly concerned that a limit to the earth’s ability to absorb CO2 from the air may be reached.  Some scientists are trying to measure how much CO2 dissolves in the oceans and how much plants use.  Many uncertainties remain, the answers far from precise.  More data needs to be collected by ships and satellites, and then analyzed.  Preliminary results suggest that the earth is absorbing about as much CO2 as it has in the past. Scientists conclude tentatively that a rapid rise in CO2 levels is not about to happen, but they desperately want more data to bolster their confidence.

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