Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




CLIMATE SCIENCE
Salt marsh carbon may play role in slowing climate warming
by Staff Writers
Charlottesville VA (SPX) Oct 01, 2012


File image.

A warming climate and rising seas will enable salt marshes to more rapidly capture and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, possibly playing a role in slowing the rate of climate change, according to a new study led by a University of Virginia environmental scientist and published in the Sept. 27 issue of the journal Nature.

Carbon dioxide is the predominant so-called "greenhouse gas" that acts as sort of an atmospheric blanket, trapping the Earth's heat. Over time, an abundance of carbon dioxide can change the global climate, according to generally accepted scientific theory. A warmer climate melts polar ice, causing sea levels to rise.

A large portion of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is produced by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels to energize a rapidly growing world human population.

"We predict that marshes will absorb some of that carbon dioxide, and if other coastal ecosystems - such as seagrasses and mangroves - respond similarly, there might be a little less warming," said the study's lead author, Matt Kirwan, a research assistant professor of environmental sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Salt marshes, made up primarily of grasses, are important coastal ecosystems, helping to protect shorelines from storms and providing habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, from birds to mammals, shell- and fin-fishes and mollusks. They also build up coastal elevations by trapping sediment during floods, and produce new soil from roots and decaying organic matter.

"One of the cool things about salt marshes is that they are perhaps the best example of an ecosystem that actually depends on carbon accumulation to survive climate change: The accumulation of roots in the soil builds their elevation, keeping the plants above the water," Kirwan said.

Salt marshes store enormous quantities of carbon, essential to plant productivity, by, in essence, breathing in the atmospheric carbon and then using it to grow, flourish and increase the height of the soil. Even as the grasses die, the carbon remains trapped in the sediment.

The researchers' model predicts that under faster sea-level rise rates, salt marshes could bury up to four times as much carbon as they do now.

"Our work indicates that the value of these ecosystems in capturing atmospheric carbon might become much more important in the future, as the climate warms," Kirwan said.

But the study also shows that marshes can survive only moderate rates of sea level rise. If seas rise too quickly, the marshes could not increase their elevations at a rate rapid enough to stay above the rising water.

And if marshes were to be overcome by fast-rising seas, they no longer could provide the carbon storage capacity that otherwise would help slow climate warming and the resulting rising water.

"At fast levels of sea level rise, no realistic amount of carbon accumulation will help them survive," Kirwan noted.

Kirwan and his co-author, Simon Mudd, a geosciences researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, used computer models to predict salt marsh growth rates under different climate change and sea-level scenarios.

.


Related Links
University of Virginia
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





CLIMATE SCIENCE
Extreme climate change linked to early animal evolution
Riverside, CA (SPX) Oct 01, 2012
An international team of scientists, including geochemists from the University of California, Riverside, has uncovered new evidence linking extreme climate change, oxygen rise, and early animal evolution. A dramatic rise in atmospheric oxygen levels has long been speculated as the trigger for early animal evolution. While the direct cause-and-effect relationships between animal and environ ... read more


CLIMATE SCIENCE
World facing unprecedented refugee crisis: UNHCR

Twenty-five killed in Hong Kong ferry collision: official

Libyans surrender hundreds of weapons to army

Seven Britons, five Chinese dead in Nepal air crash: police

CLIMATE SCIENCE
HP powers business tablet with Windows 8

'MindMeld' app anticipates people's needs

Search for element 113 concluded at last

Kodak dumps inkjet printers, more jobs

CLIMATE SCIENCE
China's dams a threat to the Mekong

Great Barrier Reef coral halved in 27 years: study

Scaling down: Warming will make fish smaller

Jordanian thirst for water grows

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Australian tycoon fined for Arctic party cruise

Study: Arctic warming faster than before

Rudolph unfed loathes rain, dear

Melting Arctic ice cap at record low

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Plant scientists create 'see-through' soil

Ex-Aussie PM criticises UN on food security

Argentina looks to soybean windfall

Italy's Slow Food movement prepares giant food fair

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Nigeria seasonal floods kill 148: Red Cross

Powerful typhoon hits Japan mainland

Typhoon Jelawat on course to hit mainland Japan

Toll from Spain floods rises to 10: regional officials

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Nigeria seeks to end the curse of unfinished projects

Ivory Coast opens first major trial of soldiers in political crisis

France to facilitate Mali anti-rebel force

One-third of Lesotho faces food crisis: UN food agency

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Compelling evidence that brain parts evolve independently

Anti-aging pill being developed

Human Brains Develop Wiring Slowly, Differing from Chimpanzees

Breaking up harder to do on Facebook




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. 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 Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement