Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding The Global Carbon Budget

Date:
May 10, 2007
Source:
Woods Hole Research Center
Summary:
As climate change becomes a more central issue in local, national, and international discussions, understanding the global carbon budget, and how it influences global warming, will become increasingly crucial. One of the world's preeminent carbon experts summarizing the global carbon budget and why it is important.

Richard Houghton, Senior Scientist, Carbon Research
Credit: Image courtesy of Woods Hole Research Center

As climate change becomes more and more a central issue in local, national, and international discussions, understanding the global carbon budget, and how it influences trends in global warming, will become increasingly crucial.

Related Articles


The carbon cycle is related to climate and climatic change because it controls carbon dioxide, the most important of the greenhouse gases. One of the world's preeminent experts on the topic, Dr. R. A. Houghton, has authored a synthesis paper on the topic, summarizing what is known about the global carbon budget and why it is important. The work is featured in the current issue of the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science.

In the paper, Dr. Houghton emphasizes that the key issue is to understand the processes responsible for adding carbon (sources) to the atmosphere and for removing it (sinks). Such understanding should lead to more accurate predictions of future concentrations of CO2 and more accurate predictions of the rate and extent of climatic change. The recent past may be insufficient for prediction, however. Oceanic and terrestrial sinks that have lessened the rate of growth in atmospheric CO2 until now may diminish as feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate become more prominent.

Dr. Houghton comments, "Figuring out where all the carbon emitted from burning fossil fuels ends up is surprisingly difficult, especially when one recognizes that there are only three places it can go: the atmosphere, the oceans and land (plants and soil). The long-time effort to understand this distribution of carbon is giving way to a related question of whether and how the distribution of carbon will change as more carbon dioxide is added to that atmosphere and as the earth warms.

The natural processes on land and in the ocean that have removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the last century may be starting to weaken. The oceans are becoming more acidic, and we see more fires in both tropical and northern forests. If these natural sinks for carbon diminish, global warming will occur more rapidly than predicted, and efforts to manage it will become that much more difficult."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Woods Hole Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Woods Hole Research Center. "Understanding The Global Carbon Budget." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161113.htm>.
Woods Hole Research Center. (2007, May 10). Understanding The Global Carbon Budget. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161113.htm
Woods Hole Research Center. "Understanding The Global Carbon Budget." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161113.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) Surfers in Russia's biggest port city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, were enjoying the sport on Saturday despite below freezing temperatures and icy cold waters. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins