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Name: Jim 
Status: Student
Grade: 9-12
Location: NY
Country: United States
Date: Summer 2009

With CO2 only able to absorb infrared radiation in only three narrow bands of frequencies totaling to, at most, an 8% absorption of the entire infra red spectrum, how can it be in any way responsible for global warming given it is a trace gas at 380 ppm?


While you are correct that CO2 absorbs in a few, narrow bands of infrared, the issue is not so much what CO2 absorbs (and re-radiates as heat via collisions with other gaseous molecules or as IR emission), but rather the increase of CO2 gas since the industrial era began that is being considered as a contributor to global warming. Water is also a greenhouse gas and absorbs at a higher range of IR spectra. But we have no data stating that the amount of atmospheric water has increased since we started measuring. CO2, however, has.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)
Canisius College

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