The Soil Carbon Sink Doesn’t Grow With Atmospheric CO2, Study Finds

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Soil’s capacity to store carbon may be less than previously thought, according to a study published in Nature.

The amount of carbon stored in soil is approximately triple that stored in living plants, but as rising CO2 levels increase plant growth, the scientists found, soil carbon storage decreases.

“We expected faster plant growth and more biomass to increase soil organic carbon, as extra leaves and biomass fall to the forest floor [but] it didn’t,” Stanford professor and senior author Rob Jackson told Earther.

The findings, the scientists say, mean global heating could accelerate more quickly than previously expected. “If we really want to stop global warming,” César Terrer, who led the research while at Stanford University, told The Guardian, “we need to stop emissions, because ecosystems only take up a fraction of all the CO2 emissions.”

Sources: The GuardianEarther, & Nature

Article courtesy of Nexus Media, a nonprofit climate change news service.

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