Science & Technology

New science shows that Earth’s natural carbon sinks hold significant power in the fight against climate change

The vast habitat of the Earth, from the poles to the equator, has the powerful ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a previously undiscovered rock nitrogen weathering reaction that distributes natural fertilizers around the world.

The new science emphasizes the importance of protecting these ecosystems and is detailed in a paper published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles from a research team led by Cornell University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of California, Davis. I am.

“Excess carbon is already damaging people, the economy, and our planet,” said Benjamin Holton, lead author of the treatise and dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. .. “But we have enjoyed the free subsidies provided by the Earth. This is a large source of carbon on land and sea. As a society, we explicitly pay for carbon sink services. No. But where is this sink and how long will it last? “

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humankind has poured carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the land and its vegetation naturally cuts nearly a quarter of it. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that scientists discovered this terrestrial carbon sink. An additional quarter of carbon dioxide flows into the ocean and the other half remains in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

“We are facing the incredible threat of climate change, and unless we find a way to store and sequester carbon, it will be exacerbated,” Houlton said.

Throughout the rest of the century, background nitrogen input from rock weathering and biological fixation can contribute 2 to 5 times more to terrestrial carbon absorption than nitrogen pollution, primarily from agricultural and industrial activities. Said the scientist looking at a normal business scenario.

“Previously, I believed that this terrestrial carbon absorption source was more vulnerable,” said Paulockdas, a postdoctoral researcher at Northern Arizona University at the Holton Institute at the University of California, Davis. Says. Cornell. “Now it suggests that land carbon sinks remain robust due to previously undiscovered sustained release nitrogen.”

Still, the use of fossil fuels tends to add excess nitrogen to the atmosphere, and instead of acting as a fertilizer, it bypasses the terrestrial carbon cycle and pollutes downstream waters, so society should be less vigilant. is not. Mitigating this excess nitrogen pollution can improve human health, the environment and the economy without jeopardizing natural land carbon sinks, Das said.

Das explained that in order to protect carbon sinks, it is necessary to protect areas with strong weather resistance and biological nitrogen fixation of rock nitrogen. For example, biologically diverse tropical forests, mountainous areas, and rapidly changing northern zones (from Alaska, for example, from Canada to Siberia).

“Our work suggests that the conservation of these ecosystems, which incorporate the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, is essential to ensure that the Earth’s terrestrial carbon sink services are not lost. In the future. “

Reference: October 11, 2021 World biogeochemical cycle..

Funding for this study was provided by NSF.

New science shows that Earth’s natural carbon sinks hold significant power in the fight against climate change New science shows that Earth’s natural carbon sinks hold significant power in the fight against climate change

Back to top button