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CO2 from Chemical Weathering UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide drawdown from the chemical weathering of rocks peaks across a range of moderate erosion rates, according to a new study. 

  • The findings provide new insights into the constraints of weathering-mediated carbon dioxide drawdown and help resolve conflicting data on the impact of erosion on the carbon cycle. 

  • The chemical weathering mediates the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, thereby, the planet’s climate.

CO₂ from chemical weathering

  • Chemical weathering can act as both a source and a sink for atmospheric CO₂

Here's the breakdown:

  • CO₂ Consumption: The most common scenario is that chemical weathering acts as a sink for CO₂.

  • Rainwater reacts with atmospheric CO₂ to become slightly acidic

  • This acidic water then interacts with rocks, breaking them down. 

  • Certain minerals, like those found in limestone (carbonate rocks), react with this weak carbonic acid and dissolve, releasing bicarbonate ions (HCO₃⁻) into the water and consuming CO₂ in the process. 

  • This bicarbonate is eventually transported by rivers to the oceans, where some of it can precipitate out as carbonate minerals, locking away the CO₂ for millions of years.

  • CO₂ Production: However, under specific conditions, chemical weathering can also release CO₂. 

  • When strong acids, like sulfuric acid formed from atmospheric sulfur dioxide (SO₂), are involved in weathering, they can break down minerals that don't necessarily consume CO₂ in the process.

  • For instance, the weathering of some silicate rocks can release CO₂ along with other dissolved ions.

  • Overall, chemical weathering plays a crucial role in regulating atmospheric CO₂ levels, although the balance can be tipped in either direction depending on the specific minerals being weathered and the type of acids involved

  • This natural process acts as a thermostat for Earth's climate over long timescales.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: CO2 from Chemical Weathering UPSC NOTE
CO2 from Chemical Weathering UPSC NOTE
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