Feeds

CSIRO: Landscape is biggest carbon sink

No big enough, though

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

New research published by the CSIRO has found that Australia’s landscape is by far the country’s largest carbon sink. However, its nowhere near enough, absorbing just one-third of the national fossil fuel emissions over the last 30 years.

The research, published in the open-access Biogeosciences (abstract here with link to full PDF of the paper), also found that Australia is now exporting 2.5 times as much carbon and CO2 as it emits, in the form of its coal and gas fossil fuel exports.

Those “carbon exports” rose very quickly in the two decades covered by the study: in 1990, Australia only exported 1.5 times as much fossil fuel as it used locally.

When the variation in plant uptake of carbon – for example, under different weather conditions – is taken into account, plans in Australia soak up an annual average of 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon annually. In the modern era, the researchers say, plants have expanded their carbon uptake – but only by about 15 percent compared to pre-industrial times.

Moreover, that uptake is hugely variable. As lead author Dr Vanessa Haverd of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Sciences notes in the agency's announcement, the carbon stored in plants during high rainfall will be released in the next drought.

The work focussed on calculating the total emissions budget for the years 1990-2011 using the BIOS2 and CABLE models, as part of a global regional assessment called RECCAP (Regional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes).

There are some snippets of good news in the research. Increasing rainfall in some regions is driving more vegetation in desert areas, for example. The research states: “One extreme was the desert region, where CO2 fertilisation reinforced the positive impact on NEP of extremely high rainfall in 1990–2011, preceded by several decades of increasing rainfall.”

However, in cool, temperate regions, “CO2 fertilisation was only just sufficient to offset the negative impact of decades of drought.”

The aim of the research is to help reconcile different approaches to estimating the global carbon budget – “bottom up” estimates such as this on the one hand, and “top down” estimates based on measurements of atmospheric carbon. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.