The airborne fraction is a scaling factor defined as the ratio of the annual increase in atmospheric CO
2 to the CO
2 emissions from anthropogenic sources. It represents the proportion of human emitted CO
2 that remains in the atmosphere. The fraction averages about 45%, meaning that approximately half the human-emitted CO
2 is absorbed by ocean and land surfaces. There is some evidence for a recent increase in airborne fraction, which would imply a faster increase in atmospheric CO
2 for a given rate of human fossil-fuel burning. However, other sources suggest that the "fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades".
Changes in carbon sinks can affect the airborne fraction.
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- Canadell, Josep G.; Corinne Le Quere; Michael R. Raupach; Christopher B. Field; Erik T. Buitenhuis; Philippe Ciais; Thomas J. Conway; Nathan P. Gillett; R. A. Houghton; Gregg Marland (November 20, 2007). "Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks". PNAS 104 (47): 18866–18870. doi:10.1073/pnas.0702737104. PMC 2141868. PMID 17962418. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- "No Rise of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years, New Research Finds". ScienceDaily LLC. 31 Dec 2009. Archived from the original on 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- Knorr, Wolfgang (7 Nov 2009). "Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO
2 emissions increasing?". GRL. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
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