Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

WSU researcher sees huge carbon sink in soil minerals

08.11.2017

Finding opens new avenue for offsetting rising greenhouse gases

A Washington State University researcher has discovered that vast amounts of carbon can be stored by soil minerals more than a foot below the surface. The finding could help offset the rising greenhouse-gas emissions helping warm the Earth's climate.


A Washington State University researcher has discovered that vast amounts of carbon can be stored by soil minerals more than a foot below the surface. The finding could help offset the rising greenhouse-gas emissions helping warm the Earth's climate.

Credit: Biogeochemistry Letters

Marc Kramer, an assistant professor of environmental chemistry at WSU Vancouver, reports his finding in one of two related papers demonstrating how the right management practices can help trap much of the carbon dioxide that is rapidly warming the planet.

Soil holds more than three times the carbon found in the atmosphere, yet its potential in reducing atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels and mitigating global warming is barely understood.

Kramer, who is a reviewer for one of three reports issued with the federal National Climate Assessment released last week, compared what we know about soil to how little we know about the deep ocean.

"Hardly anyone has been down there and they just found a new species of octopus" he said. "We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about either oceans or soils on Earth"

Half of global soil carbon

Writing with colleagues from Stanford, Oregon State University and elsewhere in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Kramer said more than half of the global soil carbon pool is more than a foot beneath the surface. He also found that soil organic matter at that depth is almost entirely associated with minerals.

Kramer elaborates on the connection this week in the journal Biogeochemistry Letters. His study, which he led with colleagues from Oregon State University and the Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania, is the first to explicitly examine the extent minerals control nitrogen and carbon deep in the soil.

Keeping carbon in the ground

The more we understand these processes, the more we can tailor farming and other practices to keep carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere, Kramer said. Almost three-fourths of all carbon sequestered in the top three feet of the soil is affected by agriculture, grazing or forest management, Kramer and his colleagues report in the Annual Review paper.

Earlier research by Kramer found that certain farming practices can dramatically increase carbon in the soil. Writing in Nature Communications in 2015, Kramer documented how three farms converted to management-intensive grazing practices raised their carbon levels to those of native forest soils in just six years. While cultivation has decreased soil carbon levels by one-half to two-thirds, the soils he examined had a 75 percent increase in carbon.

"I would call it radical, anytime you can get that much carbon in the system that quickly," Kramer said.

Knowing more about how soil stores carbon can open the door to new techniques that will entrain carbon deep into the soil while continuing to produce food and fiber.

"Don't forget, we need to double food production in the next 40 years," Kramer said.

Media Contact

Marc Kramer
marc.kramer@wsu.edu
360-546-9788

 @WSUNews

http://www.wsu.edu 

Marc Kramer | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells

19.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>