The Champagne Experiment – CO2 & Global Warming

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Try this at home.  Put one bottle of champagne and one PET bottle of carbonated water in your refrigerator at 4 degrees C.  Put another of each on your kitchen bench and set your home temperature thermostat to 21 degrees C.  Leave the bottles for twenty-four hours.

Now take out the bottle of champagne from the fridge, and open it.  Also open the champagne bottle on the bench.  What happens?  The cold bottle opens with a hiss or a pop, and the bottle sits with bubbles rising in it,  The warm bottle spurts champagne, overflowing the neck so violently that you lose half of the contents.  Now do the same with the bottles of carbonated water.  What happens?  Much the same thing – the cold one bubbles away gently, the warm one overflows.  Now put the cold bottle of water back in the fridge without replacing the cap, in preparation for the second part of the experiment (keep the cap aside – I’ll tell you why at the end).

Congratulations!  Pour yourself a drink of champagne – you deserve it.  You have just demonstrated the possibility that cold champagne (and water) hold more CO2 in solution than warm champagne (and water)!

The volume of water in the oceans is approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometres, or 310 million cubic miles.  (Source : “The World Ocean.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 2007, 6th Ed. New York: Columbia University Press.)  Those oceans hold an awful lot of CO2.  So you have also demonstrated the possibility of something else.  Warmer oceans will hold less CO2 than cold oceans.  So we could expect that in the presence of global warming, the oceans (all 1.3 billion cubic kilometres of them) release CO2 directly into the atmosphere.  Rather a lot of CO2.

Hmmmm….  Is anyone wondering why the glacial records associate high levels of CO2 with high temperatures?  And why the CO2 rise always follows the temperature rise?  Don’t you think it possible that at least some of the CO2 is there because rather a lot of it would slowly bubble out of the oceans when they became warmer?   That would seem to expose Al Gore’s use of glacial records to support AGW theory for what it really is.  Poppycock.  Penn and Teller fodder.

Heh heh…  You have just wasted a bottle of champagne.  Cheer up – it is hard to be grumpy when you are drinking champagne.  So have another glass of champagne.  Go and relax for twenty-four hours, ready for the second part of the experiment.

After the twenty-four hours, go back to the fridge.  Open it and look at the bottle of carbonated water that you returned uncapped yesterday.  It’s no longer bubbling.  So if there is any CO2 remaining in it, it is held in solution.  Now remove the bottle from the fridge, screw the cap back on securely, and leave it on the bench at 21 degrees C for another twenty-four hours.

After the second twenty-four hours, open the warm bottle.  What happens?  It starts bubbling away.  And that’s the point of the second part of the experiment.  Congratulations, now you really have demonstrated that cold water holds more CO2 in solution than warm water!  If you have any more cold champagne, pour yourself one.  Otherwise, have a beer.

(The earlier part of the champagne experiment did not truly demonstrate that cold water holds more CO2 in solution than warm water.  It demonstrated only that when the pressure is released from water containing CO2 dissolved under pressure, it bubbles out more quickly if the water is warm.)

References:

Dr Jarl Ahlbeck “Increase of the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration due to Ocean Warming” – see http://www.john-daly.com/oceanco2/oceanco2.htm

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