Small lakes and temporary ponds release CO2 into the atmosphere even when they are dry

Temporary lakes and ponds emit CO2 all year –- even when they are dry — and dry areas actually emit a larger amount of carbon into the atmosphere. This phenomenon could have an impact on the global carbon cycle that controls Earth’s climate, according to a study led by the lecturer Biel Obrador, form the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona, and Núria Catalán, from the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA).

The new article, published in the journal Scientific Reports, changes the classic paradigm on the role of temporary lakes and ponds as emitters of carbon to the

— source Universidad de Barcelona | Feb 14, 2018

Nullius in verba

Arctic permafrost releases more CO2 than once believed

Rising global temperatures are causing frozen Arctic soil — permafrost — in the northern hemisphere to thaw and release CO2 that has been stored within it for thousands of years. The amount of carbon stored in permafrost is estimated to be four times greater than the combined amount of CO2 emitted by modern humans.

Research results from an international team, which includes a researcher from the University of Copenhagen among others, suggests that the newly discovered phenomenon will release even larger quantities of CO2 than once supposed from organic matter in permafrost — a pool of carbon previously thought to be bound tightly and safely sequestered by iron.

The amount of stored carbon that is bound to iron and gets converted to CO2 when released is estimated to be somewhere between two and five times the amount of carbon released annually through anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions.

Iron doesn’t bind organic carbon after all

Researchers have long been aware that microorganisms play a key role in the release of CO2 as permafrost melts. Microorganisms activated as soil thaws convert dead plants and other organic material into greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.

What is new, is that the mineral iron was believed to bind carbon even as permafrost thawed. The new

— source University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Science | Feb 9, 2021

Nullius in verba

Locked greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost are emerging

Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it’s not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery.

According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about the frozen sediment and soil — called submarine permafrost — even as it slowly thaws and releases methane and carbon that could have significant impacts on climate.

To put into perspective the amount of greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost, humans have released about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, said Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick, one of the authors on the study published in IOP Publishing journal Environmental Research Letters.

— source DOE/Sandia National Laboratories | Feb 10, 2021

Nullius in verba

Water limitations in the tropics offset carbon uptake from Arctic greening

More plants and longer growing seasons in the northern latitudes have converted parts of Alaska, Canada and Siberia to deeper shades of green. Some studies translate this Arctic greening to a greater global carbon uptake. But new research shows that as Earth’s climate is changing, increased carbon absorption by plants in the Arctic is being offset by a corresponding decline in the tropics.

Plant productivity in the frigid Arctic landscape is limited by the lengthy periods of cold. As temperatures warm, the plants in these regions have been able to grow more densely and extend their growing season, leading to an overall increase in photosynthetic activity, and subsequently greater carbon absorption in the region over the 35-year time span.

However, buildup of atmospheric carbon concentrations has had several other rippling effects. Notably, as carbon has increased, global temperatures have risen,[]– and the atmosphere in the tropics (where plant productivity is limited by the availability of water) has become drier. Recent increases in drought and tree mortality in the Amazon rainforest are one example of this, and productivity and carbon absorption over land near the equator have gone down over the same time period as Arctic greening has occurred, canceling out any net effect on global productivity.

— source | Dec 18, 2020

Nullius in verba

Land ecosystems are becoming less efficient at absorbing CO2

Land ecosystems currently play a key role in mitigating climate change. The more carbon dioxide (CO2) plants and trees absorb during photosynthesis, the process they use to make food, the less CO2 remains trapped in the atmosphere where it can cause temperatures to rise. But scientists have identified an unsettling trend – as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increase, 86 percent of land ecosystems globally are becoming progressively less efficient at absorbing it.

— source | Dec 18, 2020

Nullius in verba

More CO2 in the atmosphere hurts key plants

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important component of the atmosphere, and human activities have increased the amount of this gas in the atmosphere by 45% since widespread industrial activities began in the mid-1700s.

But you may have heard a myth that nature’s balance doesn’t really matter. After all, CO2 is natural, and it helps plants and crops grow. That’s true. But it’s also misleading in that it’s only part of the story. A widely circulated myth suggests that adding extra CO2 to the atmosphere will fertilize plants and crops and make the world greener and better. Unfortunately, that turns out not to be true.

The myth that CO2 is plant food and that “extra” CO2 therefore can’t be bad is an example of a logical fallacy. It sort of sounds right, but it’s a major oversimplification. It’s appealing because it suggests that it’s okay to emit the pollution that causes climate change. But the myth is not true. It’s so oversimplified that it leaves out other important factors that help plants grow – and all of the damage that extra CO2 is causing. Just think of it in terms of “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” as, for example, with too much water causing a bathtub to overflow.

Fertilizer alone does not make a successful garden.

A lot of myths have a grain of truth to them. That’s part of what makes them believable – at first. But it’s up to us to look beyond that single fragment of a fact. In the case of the CO2-as-fertilizer

— source | Karin Kirk | Dec 13, 2020

Nullius in verba

Observations of past climate change help rule out natural causes of current climate change

The total rate of global warming observed since the industrial revolution can only be explained by the observed excess of CO2 in the atmosphere. The excess of CO2 can only be explained via human sources. Let us first examine the post-industrial revolution warming and some of the telltale signs that humans are responsible.

The human fingerprint

How can we be sure that humanity’s release of greenhouse gases are to blame for the observed rise in global temperature? First, let’s look at evidence showing that greenhouse gases are causing the current warming. Then we will explore how we know that the recent increase in greenhouse gases is due to human activity.

Greenhouse gases like CO2 are understood quite well, so we can make predictions about what we should observe. When CO2 is added to the atmosphere, it causes the lower atmosphere (aka the troposphere where we live and experience its weather) to warm. This warming occurs because the added CO2 traps infrared heat emitted from the Earth’s warm surface – heat that would otherwise escape to space. However, in the stratosphere, above the troposphere, adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes it to cool. This is because the extra CO2 in the stratosphere radiates more heat to space. The stratosphere has been cooling in recent decades, as atmospheric CO2 increases. This also rules out the sun, as an increase in solar energy would heat the whole atmosphere.

Another example, predicted by Arrhenius in 1896, states that winters should warm more than summers

— source | ScottKnapp | 20 Nov 2020

Nullius in verba

What is causing the increase in atmospheric CO2?

Atmospheric CO2 has increased by more than 100 parts per million since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s, when humans began burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. Human activity has increased CO2 to levels not seen in the past 800,000 years.

Figure 1: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations in parts per million (PPM). Levels have peaked throughout time but we’ve seen a steep increase of 100 PPM since the industrial revolution, Climate.Gov

To understand atmospheric CO2 levels, we must look to the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle allows us to track the CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere and absorbed by the planet.

Figure 2: Bathtub Simulation, Climate Interactive

A common analogy for this is a sink or bathtub. When you turn on a faucet, water flows into the basin and out through a drain. As the amount of water in the basin increases, more pressure is put on the drain, and therefore more water releases from the drain. The carbon cycle works in a similar way. As more CO2 (water from a faucet) is released into the atmosphere (the basin), more CO2 is naturally absorbed by the planet (the drain). In addition to the atmosphere, the planet has three main carbon reservoirs which include the solid earth, the land surface, and the ocean. Natural glacial and interglacial cycles over the last 800,000 years have worked to move CO2 between the atmosphere a

— source | 19 Nov 2020

Nullius in verba

The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about

Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.

But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint.

Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US.

— source | 17 Dec 2018

Nullius in verba

Arctic wildfires are emitting 35% more carbon compared to 2019

According to a recent report by the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, carbon emissions in the Arctic have surpassed last year’s emissions by 35%. The latest data shows that about 245 megatonnes of CO2 have been released in 2020 so far. This is a far higher figure than the entirety of last year, when 181 megatonnes of CO2 were released as a result of wildfires. The data further shows that the peak month for wildfires in 2020 was July, with over 600 wildfires reported in late July as compared to 400 wildfires in the same time frame last year. More devastating is the fact that similar periods from 2003 through 2018 experienced an average of 100 wildfires.

— source | Sep 2, 2020

Nullius in verba