Science News
from research organizations

Terrestrial biosphere contributing to warming climate

Date:
March 11, 2016
Source:
Northern Arizona University
Summary:
Terrestrial biosphere is contributing to climate change because of human activities including agriculture, researchers report. The researchers used greenhouse gas data from 2001 to 2010 and compared it to information from pre-industrial emissions, enabling the team to explain changes created by human activity.
Share:
FULL STORY

NAU assistant professor Deborah Huntzinger and a group of researchers, has analyzed the net balance of three greenhouse gases, comparing amounts of gases released into the atmosphere with carbon dioxide absorbed by land and seas.

The article published this week in Nature, detailed findings from the first study of its kind: evaluating releases of methane and nitrous oxide into the environment and subtracting the terrestrial uptake of carbon dioxide.

Biogenic fluxes were measured, which include natural processes of gas emissions from soil and wetlands, as well as increased emissions from human activities, primarily agricultural-based practices like fertilization. Data from burning of fossil fuels were not included in the study.

The researchers used greenhouse gas data from 2001 to 2010 and compared it to information from pre-industrial emissions, enabling the team to explain changes created by human activity.

Southern Asia, with 90 percent of the world's rice fields and the prolific use of nitrogen fertilizer, represented the most significant net climate warming effect. The terrestrial uptake of carbon dioxide in North America and Northern Asia was equal or greater than the human-caused biogenic emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, leading the researchers to suggest those regions have small but significant role in mitigating climate warming.

The findings suggest that worldwide, human activities are profoundly affecting the land biosphere, making it a contributor to changes in climate. The information could inform policy makers working to mitigate global warming, especially in region's with large-scale agriculture.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Northern Arizona University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hanqin Tian, Chaoqun Lu, Philippe Ciais, Anna M. Michalak, Josep G. Canadell, Eri Saikawa, Deborah N. Huntzinger, Kevin R. Gurney, Stephen Sitch, Bowen Zhang, Jia Yang, Philippe Bousquet, Lori Bruhwiler, Guangsheng Chen, Edward Dlugokencky, Pierre Friedlingstein, Jerry Melillo, Shufen Pan, Benjamin Poulter, Ronald Prinn, Marielle Saunois, Christopher R. Schwalm, Steven C. Wofsy. The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Nature, 2016; 531 (7593): 225 DOI: 10.1038/nature16946

Cite This Page:

Northern Arizona University. "Terrestrial biosphere contributing to warming climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160311105757.htm>.
Northern Arizona University. (2016, March 11). Terrestrial biosphere contributing to warming climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160311105757.htm
Northern Arizona University. "Terrestrial biosphere contributing to warming climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160311105757.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).