'Carbon Sinks' Lose Ability to Soak Up Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
By Steve ConnorScience Editor
A dramatic decline in the ability of the Earth to soak up man- made emissions of carbon dioxide, and a corresponding acceleration in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, have been detected for the first time by a team of scientists.
The discovery that more carbon dioxide from human activities is not being absorbed by forests and oceans has alarmed scientists, who believe that it signals a potentially dangerous turn of events.
They fear that a much-anticipated "feedback" in the global climate - when increases in carbon dioxide trigger further increases in atmospheric concentrations - has already begun to occur, decades before many predicted.
"We always said that these feedbacks would happen in the future, but what this study shows is that these feedbacks are happening right now," said Josep Canadell, executive director of the Global Climate Project in Canberra, and lead author of the study.
About half of the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activities are absorbed by natural "sinks" on land and the oceans, but the new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that the efficiency of these sinks has fallen significantly over the past half century.
The study also found that the amount of CO2 …
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Publication information: Article title: 'Carbon Sinks' Lose Ability to Soak Up Emissions of Greenhouse Gases. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 23, 2007. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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