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CARBON WORLDS
Massive amounts of charcoal from world's wildfires end up in oceans
by Staff Writers
Bremen, Germany (UPI) Apr 19, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Massive amounts of charcoal created when wildfires ravage the world's forests don't stay in the soil as thought but end up in oceans, researchers say.

The charcoal residue created in such fires is eventually washed out of the soil of the forest floor and transported to the sea by rivers and thus enters Earth's carbon cycle.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, and Florida International University report their studies demonstrated soluble charcoal accounts for 10 percent of the total amount of dissolved organic carbon in the world's oceans.

"Most scientists thought charcoal was resistant. They thought, once it is incorporated into the soils, it would stay there," Florida researcher Rudolf Jaffe said. "But if that were the case, the soils would be black.

"From a chemical perspective, no one really thought it dissolves, but it does," Jaffe said. "It doesn't accumulate like we had for a long time believed. Rather, it is transported into wetlands and rivers, eventually making its way to the oceans."

The researchers said they estimate about 25 million tons of dissolved charcoal is transported from land to the sea each year.

The findings, they said, are important for better calculating the global carbon budget, a balancing act between sources that produce carbon and sinks that remove it. Such calculations are needed to assess global climatic effects and find ways to alleviate them, the researchers said.

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CARBON WORLDS
Marine algae show resilience to carbon dioxide emissions
Southampton UK (SPX) Apr 17, 2013
A type of marine algae could become bigger as increasing carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the oceans, according to research led by scientists based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS). The study, published this month in PLoS ONE, investigated how a strain of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi might respond if all fossil fuels are burned by the year 2100 - pre ... read more


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