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Old 2012-02-05, 01:03   #1
jasong
 
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"Jason Goatcher"
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Default Silly carbon dioxide question

Okay, we know that the ppm of carbon dioxide has gone way up in the last couple years. But I wonder. No, not about the increase, about something else.

If we were to build a time portal so that someone from 1812, or 1712 if you prefer could come forward in time to 2012, would they notice the difference? I'm not talking about the weather, I'm wondering if the difference is enough to affect someone's breathing if the effect happened all of a sudden.

What do you think?
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Old 2012-02-05, 01:18   #2
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I think we would notice. I breath easier when I'm around a lot of tree and plants. Lots of trees are being cut. With less trees, more C02 and less O2.
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Old 2012-02-05, 13:25   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oswald View Post
I think we would notice. I breath easier when I'm around a lot of tree and plants. Lots of trees are being cut. With less trees, more C02 and less O2.
With all the oxygen released during water evaporation of the seas I hardly think anyone would notice anything...

Luigi
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Old 2012-02-05, 16:00   #4
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Most likely not. It's not the CO2 we care about, it's the O2 levels. Which'd be more than sufficient.
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Old 2012-02-05, 16:25   #5
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What triggers the need to breathe?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_blackout
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Old 2012-02-06, 05:13   #6
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Thanks for the article, I had the same misconception about hyperventilating as it said in the article.
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Old 2012-02-08, 01:58   #7
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One of the things you get warned about in paramedic training is that some smokers with bad emphysema are oxygen breathers....of ocurse, these folks aren't likely trying to do long dives like this, either....

But it might take a little adjusting for our time traveller...used to a substantially lower amount of atmospheric CO2....he might breathe a bit fast for a bit. I'd be more worried about what I might catch from him or her...
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Old 2012-02-08, 02:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
One of the things you get warned about in paramedic training is that some smokers with bad emphysema are oxygen breathers....of ocurse, these folks aren't likely trying to do long dives like this, either....

But it might take a little adjusting for our time traveller...used to a substantially lower amount of atmospheric CO2....he might breathe a bit fast for a bit. I'd be more worried about what I might catch from him or her...
I think the reverse would be true... he'd not have the immunity we have built up over the years.
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Old 2012-02-08, 07:56   #9
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I think the reverse would be true... he'd not have the immunity we have built up over the years.
I suspect both would be true. A good number of diseases have gone extinct in the wild and immunity to them has died out.

Spanish flu, anyone?

How many people here are immune to smallpox?
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Old 2012-02-09, 01:15   #10
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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
I suspect both would be true. A good number of diseases have gone extinct in the wild and immunity to them has died out.

Spanish flu, anyone?

How many people here are immune to smallpox?
Paul, no thanks....you've sold me. Many of my important immunities are acquired through vaccinations...and I get a different flu shot every year!

There is a story, that when they raised a medieval swedish ship that sank on its maiden voyage, and some people drank the wine, they got some rather strange diseases.....this story was told around 1979...
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Old 2012-02-09, 07:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
Okay, we know that the ppm of carbon dioxide has gone way up in the last couple years. But I wonder. No, not about the increase, about something else.

If we were to build a time portal so that someone from 1812, or 1712 if you prefer could come forward in time to 2012, would they notice the difference? I'm not talking about the weather, I'm wondering if the difference is enough to affect someone's breathing if the effect happened all of a sudden.
No.

At present, there is about 392 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere (reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_...27s_atmosphere). That's less than 0.04% concentration of CO2.

If we check what levels of CO2 are necessary to noticeably affect people (such as at http://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/CO2gashaz.htm), we find that the lowest level mentioned as having an effect is 1%, which is 25 times the current atmospheric concentration:
Quote:
At 1% concentration of carbon dioxide CO2 (10,000 parts per million or ppm) and under continuous exposure at that level, such as in an auditorium filled with occupants and poor fresh air ventilation, some occupants are likely to feel drowsy.
So the relatively miniscule difference between the preindustrial atmospheric concentration, 280 ppm, and the current concentration, 392 ppm, is 112 ppm (0.0112%), which should have no noticeable effect on any time-traveler's breathing.

OTOH, it seems to me that the perceived sudden change from 1712 surroundings to 2012 surroundings might very well have a noticeable effect on a time-traveler's respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure -- just not from the change in CO2.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2012-02-09 at 08:07
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