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Posted Fri Jul 15 2011: from Reuters:
As CO2 levels rise, land becomes less able to absorb CO2
Scientists say land ecosystems are an essential brake on the pace of climate change because plants soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) as they grow. This also boosts the level of carbon in soils. But in a study published in the British journal Nature on Thursday, scientists say rising levels of planet-warming CO2 will trigger an increased release of two other far more potent greenhouse gases from soils, rice paddies and wetlands. "Our results suggest that the capacity of land ecosystems to slow climate warming has been overstated," the authors, led by Kees Jan van Groenigen of Northern Arizona University in the United States, conclude.... But rising levels of nitrous oxide and methane offsets some of the benefit. Van Groenigen and colleagues calculated that a surge in the release of greenhouse gases from soils would negate at least 16.6 percent of the previously estimated climate change fighting potential of increased carbon storage in the landscape. This means the pace of global warming could in fact be faster than previously thought and that complex computer models that scientists use to project the impacts of climate change would need to be adjusted, van Groenigen told Reuters.
[Read more stories about: carbon sequestration, faster than expected, carbon emissions]
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