CO2 in the Anthropocene

Roughly one-third of the CO2 that humans have so far pumped into the air has been absorbed by the oceans. This comes to a stunning 150 million metric tons. As with most aspects of the Anthropocene, though, it’s not only the scale of the transfer but also the speed that’s significant. A useful (though admittedly imperfect comparison can be made to alcohol. Just as it makes a big difference to your blood chemistry whether you take a month to go through a six-pack or an hour, it makes a big difference to marine chemistry whether carbon dioxide is added over the course of a million years or a hundred. To the oceans, as to the human liver, rate matters.

— Chapter Six: The Sea Around Us, The Sixth Extinction

Sentence of the Day, Which Fortunately Is From the Book Self Is Still Reading

Balanus perforatus is a grayish barnacle that resembles a tiny volcano.

— Chapter VI, The Sixth Extinction

Sentence of the Day: Do You Even Need to Ask

. . . a hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man — the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories — will be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper.

— Chapter V, The Sixth Extinction

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