Archive by category | Climate Science

That (carbon) sinking feeling

Daniel Cressey; cross-posted from The Great Beyond The world’s carbon dioxide ‘sinks’ are not able to keep up with the amount of the greenhouse gas being produced, according to a paper published in Nature Geoscience. Reviewing the recent literature Corinne Le Quéré, of the University of East Anglia, and colleagues report that between 1959 and 2008 43% of each year’s carbon dioxide emissions have remained in the atmosphere with the rest being absorbed by land and ocean sinks. However in the last 50 years they suggest that the fraction remaining in the atmosphere has increased from about 40% to 45%.  Read more

Cutting non-CO2 climate agents

International climate policy is largely focused on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. But even if we reduce emissions now, a proportion of CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for millennia. A faster-acting strategy is needed if we’re to avoid dangerous climate change in the short term. That’s the message from a team of experts writing in the latest issue of PNAS.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: How soon is it coming?

Unless major breakthroughs in policy, industry and individual behavior turn around our emissions trajectory pronto, this century could well see average global temperatures 4 degrees Celsius or more above their pre-industrial baseline. That’s the starting point for the 4 Degrees and Beyond conference in Oxford this week. Here, 130 scientists and policy experts are taking a detailed look at a world warmed by twice the amount that’s usually considered dangerous.  Read more

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Northern peatlands, typical for subarctic Scandinavia and Russia, contain one third of the world’s soil organic carbon. How much extra carbon these soils will release to the atmosphere, through accelerated respiration in a warmer climate, has been pretty much guesswork. Data from an eight-year in situ experiment carried out in Sweden now suggest that even modest warming will release enough extra carbon to effectively equalize the European Union’s emissions reductions achieved under the Kyoto Protocol.  Read more