Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expansion of agricultural land reduces CO2 absorption

06.07.2018

Study about the impact of changes in land use on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- publication in Environmental Research Letters

Climate change is heavily related to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. During photosynthesis, plants absorb some of the industrial CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, making them contribute significantly to climate protection.


New study suggests: The conversion of forests into agricultural land accelerates climate change.

Photo: Dr Anita Bayer, KIT/IMK-IFU

"The CO2 increase in the atmosphere is currently lower than to be expected from anthropogenic emissions," says Professor Almut Arneth from the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU) at KIT Campus Alpin in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. 20 to 25 percent of the CO2 released by humans into the atmosphere is currently being absorbed by plants. "This effect curbs climate change; without it global warming would have progressed further by now," the scientist says. "The question is whether it will stay this way in the next few decades."

A research group led by Arneth and Dr Benjamin Quesada at IMK-IFU has dealt with the impact of changes in land use on the expected concentration of carbon dioxide - in other words CO2 projection - in the earth's atmosphere.

Their study titled "Potential strong contribution of future anthropogenic land-use and land-cover change to the terrestrial carbon cycle" published in Environmental Research Letters shows that changes in land use have a significant impact on future CO2 absorption from the atmosphere.

If forests are cut down in favor of arable land and pasture land, it reduces the capacity of plants and soil to take up CO2. "The wood in a forest can store more CO2 than corn for example," explains Arneth who in her research deals with the interaction between the atmosphere, plants and soil.

If deforestation were to continue, it could even be expected that large parts of the tropics will change from a CO2 basin - which absorbs more CO2 than it releases - to a CO2 source.

Researchers at KIT have summarized the results of five common climate models and looked at seven variables for 25 world regions to better understand the extent to which different changes in land use have an impact on CO2 storage in vegetation, and as a result on the concentration in the atmosphere. The scenarios differ, for example, in how much leaf area there is in relation to soil area, how much the relevant plants grow, and how long a plant grows before it dies and releases CO2 into the atmosphere.

All the models were fed with the same assumptions to limit model-related uncertainties through the summary and detailed systematic analysis of the results. This makes the study more significant than previous investigations which were based only on individual models.

"We have shown how important it is to include the expansion of agricultural land in climate projections and to adapt the models; there is still a lot of room for improvement," says the environmental researcher. "This study confirms how important it is to work toward ensuring that deforestation in the tropics and globally is reduced or stopped," says Arneth.

###

Original publication

Benjamin Quesada, Almut Arneth, Eddy Robertson and Nathalie de Noblet: Potential strong contribution of future anthropogenic land-use and land-cover change to the terrestrial carbon cycle. Environmental Research Letters, 2018. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aac4c3/meta External Link

More information on the KIT Climate and Environment Center: http://www.klima-umwelt.kit.edu External Link

Being „The Research University in the Helmholtz Association", KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 25,500 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.

Media Contact

Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414

 @KITKarlsruhe

http://www.kit.edu/index.php 

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2018_074_expansion-of-agricultural-land-reduces-co2-absorption.php

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Atmospheric scientists reveal the effect of sea-ice loss on Arctic warming
11.03.2019 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

nachricht Sensing shakes
11.03.2019 | University of Tokyo

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

To proliferate or not to proliferate

21.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Magnetic micro-boats

21.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Motorless pumps and self-regulating valves made from ultrathin film

21.03.2019 | HANNOVER MESSE

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>