Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Storage of greenhouse gasses in Siberian peat moor

31.01.2007
Wet peat moorlands form a sustainable storage place for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide but are also a source of the much stronger greenhouse gas methane.

According to Dutch researcher Wiebe Borren, peat moorlands will counteract the greenhouse effect under the present climatic conditions. If the climate becomes warmer, the greenhouse effect can temporarily be enhanced. Borren investigated the carbon exchange between West-Siberian peat moorlands and the atmosphere.

The West-Siberian peatlands have been formed over the past 10,000 years during the Holocene period and cover some one million square kilometres. Carbon is formed during the development of the peatland. Plants initially take this up in the form of carbon dioxide. Subsequently part of the dead plant material is stored under water-saturated, acid-free conditions. As the peat slowly breaks down, carbon is released again in the form of methane (CH4), which just like carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Up until now it was not clear how peat moorland areas influenced the greenhouse effect.

Borren calculated the changes in the atmospheric supplies of carbon dioxide and methane using a 3D-model based on exchange fluxes due to peat formation over the past 9000 years. With this model he also simulated the effects of draining peatlands on CO2 emission and on climate change. When studying the effects on climate change, Borren took into account the northwards shift in bioclimate zones in West Siberia as a result of global warming. The results revealed that from the Holocene up until now, peat moorlands have counteracted the greenhouse effect by functioning as a net storage place for greenhouse gasses; more CO2 is stored than methane released, even if the stronger greenhouse effect of methane is allowed for.

Borren developed a new calculation method to determine the significance of peat moorlands for climate change. To date, limits on greenhouse gas emissions (Kyoto protocols) have been calculated on the basis of instantaneous emissions and not the gradually changing emissions, which is the case for woods and natural peatlands. With this new method the researcher could also clearly show that non-drained peatlands will eventually be extremely important net storage areas for greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, even in the case of global warming.

Global warming ensures reversal

If global warming and the northward shift of bioclimate zones continue, however, then the peat moorlands will enhance the greenhouse effect says Borren. After about 250 years this effect will once again be reversed, as the increase in carbon dioxide uptake will then be greater than the increase in methane emissions. Drainage always contributes to a strengthening of the greenhouse effect. Borren therefore believes that the reclamation of peatlands will enhance global warming far more than the natural effects he describes in his thesis.

Wiebe Borren's research was funded by NWO.

Dr Wiebe Borren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_6X6CNM_Eng
http://www.tno.nl

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>