Earth facing the global carbon cycle crash




12.07.2004 15:07 | Science News

British researcher warns that the peat bogs around the world began to emit carbon dioxide, accelerating global warming. What's worse is samopodpityvayuschiysya process — that is, increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the release of additional volumes of gas from the peat bogs.

In the coming decades, billions of tons of carbon can get into the air from peat bogs, warns Chris Freeman of the University of Wales. Peatlands — the volume of natural storage of organic carbon. By some estimates, peat bogs of Europe, Siberia and North America hold the equivalent of industrial carbon emissions on a global scale for 70 years.

Recently, however, there are fears that these peat bogs produce a significant part of hoarding them organic carbon dissolved in the river water. As a result, the content of dissolved organic carbon in water is increasing annually by 6%. They suspect that the increase in the concentration began about 40 years ago. The danger here is that those who live in the river water bacteria rapidly convert dissolved organic carbon in the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.

Why give your peatland carbon? There are several hypotheses: the version of the fault of global warming was disproved field trials, the idea that the increase in the volume of water in rivers leads to increased run-off — is not confirmed. So Freeman put forward a hedgehog one assumption — that the summer drought accelerate the decomposition of plant matter in peat bogs, resulting in more carbon is released, which is then washed away in the river. However, computer simulations drought showed that in such circumstances the amount of eluted carbon does not increase but rather decreases.

Field tests allow themselves to admit the existence of a cause — a direct effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Freeman grew the plants in soil taken from peatlands under special glass caps, some of which were filled with normal air, and others — air enriched with carbon dioxide. He found that plants in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere begin to absorb much larger amounts of carbon dioxide, which in turn then into the soil, into the moisture. There, he can absorb the decomposing bacteria themselves peaty soil, releasing fixed carbon from peat bog in the river. During three years the proportion of dissolved organic carbon in the soil surrounding the plants that live elevated levels of carbon dioxide increased by 10 times in comparison with control samples.

Recent data published by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster, show an increase in the amount of dissolved organic carbon in Welsh rivers by 90% since 1988. The rate of this increase may mean that we have reached some kind of critical situation that threatens failure of the carbon cycle of our planet. It is reported

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