Earth Science News  





. Rise In Atmospheric CO2 Accelerates As Economy Grows, Natural Carbon Sinks Weakening

Changes in wind patterns over the Southern Ocean resulting from human-induced global warming have brought carbon-rich water toward the surface, reducing the ocean's ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On land, where plant growth is the major mechanism for drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, large droughts have reduced the uptake of carbon.
by Staff Writers
Stanford CA (SPX) Oct 23, 2007
Human activities are releasing carbon dioxide faster than ever, while the natural processes that normally slow its build up in the atmosphere appear to be weakening. These conclusions are drawn in a new study in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 22-26. The report states that "together, these effects characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected climate forcing sooner than expected."

Between 2000 to 2006, human activities such as burning fossil fuels, manufacturing cement, and tropical deforestation contributed an average of 4.1 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year, yielding an annual growth rate for atmospheric carbon dioxide of 1.93 parts per million (ppm). "This is the highest since the beginning of continuous monitoring in 1959," states the report. The growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide is significantly larger than those for the 1980s and 1990s, which were 1.58 and 1.49 ppm per year, respectively. The present atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is 381 ppm, the largest concentration in the last 650,000 years, and probably in the last 20 million years.

While the worldwide acceleration in carbon dioxide emissions had been previously noted, the current analysis provides insights into its causes. "The new twist here is the demonstration that weakening land and ocean sinks are contributing to the accelerating growth of atmospheric CO2," says co-author Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.

Changes in wind patterns over the Southern Ocean resulting from human-induced global warming have brought carbon-rich water toward the surface, reducing the ocean's ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On land, where plant growth is the major mechanism for drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, large droughts have reduced the uptake of carbon.

Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels constituted the largest source of anthropogenic carbon, releasing an average of 7.6 billion metric tons each year between 2000 and 2006, a significant jump from 6.5 billion tons in the 1990s. Emissions generated by land-use changes such as deforestation have remained constant, but shifted in geographic focus.

The study also shows that the carbon intensity of the global economy (kilograms of carbon per dollar of economic activity) has increased since 2000 at about 0.3% per year, reversing a 30-year decline of about 1.3% per year. Because practically all proposed scenarios for managing future emissions postulate improvements in carbon intensity in the global economy, this deterioration of carbon intensity presents a serious challenge in stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide and mitigating climate change.

The researchers for the study are Josep G. Canadell, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia; Corinne Le Quere, University of East Anglia, School of Environment Sciences, Norwich, UK, and British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK; Michael R. Raupach, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia; Christopher B. Field, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Global Ecology, Stanford, CA; Erik T. Buitehuis, University of East Anglia, School of Environment Sciences, Norwich, UK; Philippe Ciais, Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique, Laboratorie des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, France; Thomas J. Conway, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO; Nathan P. Gillett, University of East Anglia, School of Environment Sciences, Norwich,UK; R. A. Houghton, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA; Gregg Marland, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Carnegie Institution
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Environment ministers to meet in Indonesia
Jakarta (AFP) Oct 22, 2007
Ministers and senior officials from around 40 countries are to hold informal talks in Indonesia this week aimed at setting the stage for a global climate change summit on Bali later this year.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Satellites Help Save Lives
  • Vietnam villagers face hunger amid floods
  • 3,000 evacuated after China landslide blocks river
  • ORNL Resilience Plan To Help Tennessee, Mississippi And South Carolina Communities Beat Disaster

  • Rise In Atmospheric CO2 Accelerates As Economy Grows, Natural Carbon Sinks Weakening
  • North Atlantic Slows On The Uptake Of CO2
  • Environment ministers to meet in Indonesia
  • Tiny Pacific islands say climate change threatens survival

  • A Roadmap For Calibration And Validation
  • Key Found To Moonlight Romance
  • GeoEye Contract With ITT Begins Phased Procurement Of The GeoEye-2 Satellite
  • ITT Sensors Aboard DigitalGlobe's WorldView-1 Satellite Capture First High-Res Images

  • Researchers Examine World's Potential To Produce Biodiesel
  • Ukraine Settles Gas Debts In Line With Agreements
  • US sanctions Against Iran Could Threaten LUKoil Project
  • Energy poses major 21st century crisis: scientists

  • After extinction fears, Botswana learns to live with AIDS
  • West Nile Virus Spread Through Nerve Cells Linked To Serious Complication
  • New Model Predicts More Virulent Microbes
  • China denies cover-up of pig disease

  • Life's Early Vision
  • Researchers Studying How Singing Bats Communicate
  • Small-scale fishing threatens sea turtles
  • Symposium Marks 30th anniversary Of Discovery Of Third Domain Of Life

  • Space Sensors Shed New Light On Air Quality
  • Pitt Professor Says Harmful Byproducts Of Fossil Fuels Could Be Higher In Urban Areas
  • Analysis: Olympics and Beijing pollution
  • Scientists Estimate Mercury Emissions From US Fires

  • Researchers Find Earliest Evidence For Modern Human Behavior In South Africa
  • Neandertals And Humans Share Key Changes To Language Gene
  • Genetic Ancestral Testing Cannot Deliver On Its Promise
  • Family trees flourish on the Internet

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement