Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global warming: 'Black carbon' flowing from soil to oceans

Date:
April 19, 2013
Source:
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland)
Summary:
A smaller proportion of black carbon created during combustion will remain in soil than have been estimated before. Contrary to previous understanding, burying black carbon in the ground in order to restrain climate change will not create a permanent carbon reserve. Instead, a part of black carbon will dissolve from soil to rivers.

A smaller proportion of black carbon created during combustion will remain in soil than have been estimated before. Contrary to previous understanding, burying black carbon in the ground in order to restrain climate change will not create a permanent carbon reserve. Instead, a part of black carbon will dissolve from soil to rivers. The flux of dissolved black carbon from the rivers to the ocean was estimated in a research article published in Science on 19 April.

The burning of organic matter creates 40-250 million tons of black carbon every year. Black carbon is formed through the incomplete combustion of organic matter, e.g. in forest fires, slash-and-burn and controlled burning of fields. The general assumption has been that black carbon would remain in soil even for millions of years.

However, recently published research indicates that a remarkable proportion of black carbon in soil will dissolve to the water system. In the light of new research results, much discussed "bio-carbon" may not be that beneficial in terms of mitigating climate change. Carbon is given the prefix "bio" when it is used both for energy production and soil enrichment. In any case, the stability of carbon in soil has been a central factor of bio-carbon applications.

By sampling rivers all around the world, the researchers estimated that the annual amount of black carbon flowing via rivers to the ocean is 27 million tons per year.

"Each sample included a significant amount of black carbon," says a research participant Anssi Vähätalo, Senior Lecturer from the University of Jyväskylä.

"On average, the amount of black carbon was ten per cent of the amount of dissolved organic carbon. The results prove that the proportion of water soluble black carbon may be as much as 40 per cent of black carbon created annually.

Water samples from the largest rivers in the world

The basis of the research was the 'Big river'-project started by Senior Lecturer Anssi Vähätalo while he was working as an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki before moving to the University of Jyväskylä. For this project, water samples were collected from the ten largest rivers in the world.

"These rivers carry one third of fresh water running to oceans, and their catchment area covers 28% of the whole land area in the world. Water samples were taken, e.g. from Amazon, the largest river in the world," says Vähätalo.

In addition to the samples used in the river project, the research published in Science was supplemented with samples from many other rivers all over the world. The total number of researched samples was 174.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Jaffe, Y. Ding, J. Niggemann, A. V. Vahatalo, A. Stubbins, R. G. M. Spencer, J. Campbell, T. Dittmar. Global Charcoal Mobilization from Soils via Dissolution and Riverine Transport to the Oceans. Science, 2013; 340 (6130): 345 DOI: 10.1126/science.1231476

Cite This Page:

Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). "Global warming: 'Black carbon' flowing from soil to oceans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075926.htm>.
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). (2013, April 19). Global warming: 'Black carbon' flowing from soil to oceans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075926.htm
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). "Global warming: 'Black carbon' flowing from soil to oceans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075926.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
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:

More Coverage


Massive Amounts of Charcoal Enter the Worlds' Oceans

Apr. 19, 2013 — Wild fire residue is washed out of the soil and transported to the sea by ... read more

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