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Atmospheric Temperature and CO2: Hen-Or-Egg Causality?

Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 157 80 Athens, Greece
Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, 60-809 Poznań, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2020 / Accepted: 16 November 2020 / Published: 25 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2020 Editors' Collection)
It is common knowledge that increasing CO2 concentration plays a major role in enhancement of the greenhouse effect and contributes to global warming. The purpose of this study is to complement the conventional and established theory, that increased CO2 concentration due to human emissions causes an increase in temperature, by considering the reverse causality. Since increased temperature causes an increase in CO2 concentration, the relationship of atmospheric CO2 and temperature may qualify as belonging to the category of “hen-or-egg” problems, where it is not always clear which of two interrelated events is the cause and which the effect. We examine the relationship of global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in monthly time steps, covering the time interval 1980–2019 during which reliable instrumental measurements are available. While both causality directions exist, the results of our study support the hypothesis that the dominant direction is T → CO2. Changes in CO2 follow changes in T by about six months on a monthly scale, or about one year on an annual scale. We attempt to interpret this mechanism by involving biochemical reactions as at higher temperatures, soil respiration and, hence, CO2 emissions, are increasing. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperature; global warming; greenhouse gases; atmospheric CO2 concentration temperature; global warming; greenhouse gases; atmospheric CO2 concentration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Koutsoyiannis, D.; Kundzewicz, Z.W. Atmospheric Temperature and CO2: Hen-Or-Egg Causality? Sci 2020, 2, 83.

AMA Style

Koutsoyiannis D, Kundzewicz ZW. Atmospheric Temperature and CO2: Hen-Or-Egg Causality? Sci. 2020; 2(4):83.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Koutsoyiannis, Demetris, and Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz. 2020. "Atmospheric Temperature and CO2: Hen-Or-Egg Causality?" Sci 2, no. 4: 83.

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