About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Planet Earth's Capacity to Absorb Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Has Increased Now

by Bidita Debnath on May 16, 2015 at 11:42 PM
Font : A-A+

Planet Earth's Capacity to Absorb Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Has Increased Now

There are some good and bad news for climate change enthusiasts. Researchers have found that along with the rise in carbon emissions, the Earth's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere has also gone up, but there is no guarantee that it would continue.

About half of the emissions of CO2 each year remain in the atmosphere; the other half is taken up by the ecosystems on land and the oceans, and the rates of CO2 absorption by Earth have so far increased in proportion to emissions, the study noted.


"Since the emissions today are three times higher than they were in the 1960s, this increased uptake by land and ocean is not only surprising; it is good news," said study co-author Richard Houghton, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center at Massachusetts in the US.

"Without it, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would be twice what it is, and climate change would be much farther along. But, there is no guarantee that it will continue," Houghton cautioned.

Since 1956, when the monitoring of atmospheric CO2 concentrations began at Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) on the island of Hawaii, many more stations have been added to measure the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and how it varies seasonally and geographically.

"There is no question that land and oceans have, for at least the last five and half decades, been taking up about half of the carbon emitted each year," Houghton said. "Most of the processes responsible for that uptake would be expected to slow down as the Earth warms, but we have not seen it yet," Houghton noted.

The researchers conclude that the greater certainty in atmospheric carbon measurements has led to an increased certainty in the calculated rate of carbon uptake by land and oceans. Monitoring that uptake year by year is critical for understanding the carbon cycle and for knowing how to deal with it.

The study was published in the journal Biogeosciences.

Source: IANS


Recommended Reading

Latest Environmental Health

 Plants Filter Airborne Pollutants That Cause Cancer
The Ambius small green wall, which contains a variety of indoor plants, was shown to be quite successful at removing hazardous, cancer-causing pollutants.
Uncovering the Link Between Dirty Air and Premature Death
Public health measures to prevent air pollution could lead to positive effects on patients with heart failure.
Solving the Nitrate Puzzle: Contradictory Hazards and Benefits of Nitrate
Nitrate has brought in two contradictory results, where one study states that it could be heart-healthy while the other points to it as a cancer risk.
Are We Ready for the Future Health Impacts of Climate Mitigation?
Worsened air quality due to climate mitigation efforts could lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Are We Ready to Reduce Plastic Pollution by 80% by 2040?
Reduction in plastic pollution results in an increase of 700,000 jobs by 2040, significantly improving the livelihoods of millions of workers in informal settings.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Planet Earth's Capacity to Absorb Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Has Increased Now Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests