A simple model for the prediction of CO₂ concentrations in the atmosphere, depending on global CO₂ emissions

A simple model for the prediction of CO₂ concentrations in the atmosphere, depending on global CO₂ emissions

M Vollmer, and W Eberhardt
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Publikation: European Journal of Physics
  • Erschienen: Februar 2024
  • Seiten: 17

We present a very simple model for estimating time dependent atmospheric CO₂ concentrations c(t) from global carbon emission scenarios, serving as single input data. We derive a single linear differential equation of 1st order, based on parameters which are estimated from quantitative data of the global carbon project and Mauna Loa data for CO₂ concentrations. The model is tested first by comparing it to the 1960–2021 period with reasonably good quantitative agreement and, second to two of the typical current IPCC scenarios with good qualitative agreement. Finally, some new emission scenarios are modelled. Despite several drawbacks concerning absolute quantitative predictions, there are two important advantages of the model. First, it can be easily executed by students already with simple programmable spreadsheet programs such as Excel. Second input emission scenarios can be changed easily and expected changes are immediately seen for discussion during undergraduate and graduate courses on the carbon cycle and climate change.