Giant Analog CO2 Meter Sweeps Away Doubt

Most of us are aware that trees turn CO₂ into oxygen, but we’d venture to guess that many people’s knowledge of this gas ends there. Is it feast or famine out there for the trees? Who can say? We admire [rabbitcreek]’s commitment to citizen science because he’s so focused on making it easy for people to understand their environment. His latest offering, a giant analog CO₂ meter, might be our favorite so far.

The brains of the operation is an Adafruit Feather Adalogger. It reads the CO₂ sensor that’s mounted close to the business end of the nautilus, and becomes the quill that writes the CO₂ value to a FeatherWing e-ink screen. For the giant needle, this lovely meter uses one of those fiberglass poles you mark your driveway with so you can find it under a blanket of snow. The needle is counter-balanced with washers encased in printed plastic.

As you can see in the GIF, there’s a decent delay between the CO₂ blast and the needle response — we like to imagine the CO₂ spiraling slowly through the nautilus like a heavy, ill wind on its way to gravely move the needle.

Want a way to monitor air quality that’s a bit more discreet? Slip this portable meter into your pocket.

11 thoughts on “Giant Analog CO2 Meter Sweeps Away Doubt

    1. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere today are quite low and are actually close to famine levels for trees. Sure, you look outside and they appear to be growing fine, but thats merely from a perspective of your lifetime. For most plants to truly thrive the atmospheric CO2 levels should be much higher than they are. Unfortunately, most of what we eat is far from natural and humans have engineered it to be ideal in these conditions. A drastic rise in CO2 levels could render our food crop inedible, but the trees certainly arent going anywhere.

      1. That is very true except that the oceans act as a CO2 buffer with most of it dissolved in the water and the heating from the sun controls how much CO2 they can hold so if we make a lot of it only a portion of that stays in the air. People seem to have forgotten the basic physics, which can’t be defied, the gas laws and thermodynamics etc.

  1. “Most of us are aware that trees turn CO₂ into oxygen, ”

    And most of us are wrong!
    Plants, turn water (H2O) into oxygen, and turn CO2 into sugar (e.g. cellulose)

    This was discovered by giving plants water with radioactive oxygen isotopes, and non-radioactive CO2,
    and then another experiment which gave plants non-radioactive water and CO2 with radioactive oxygen isotopes.
    The results showed that the oxygen given off by plants is the result of breaking the hydrogen atoms from water and adding them to CO2 to make sugars.

  2. My son is doing a science fair project and we’re using the T6613 CO2 sensors. So far, at double atmospheric levels the plants he’s using to determine if higher CO2 levels are good for plants show the best growth results.

    those plants are good and green and grow faster than the control or 4x atmospheric sample.

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