by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 04, 2011
Concerns that global warming may have a domino effect -unleashing 600 billion tons of carbon in vast expanses of peat in the Northern hemisphere and accelerating warming to disastrous proportions - may be less justified than previously thought.
That's the conclusion of a new study on the topic in ACS' journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Christian Blodau and colleagues explain that peat bogs - wet deposits of partially decayed plants that are the source of gardeners' peat moss and fuel - hold about one-third of the world's carbon.
Scientists have been concerned that global warming might dry out the surface of peatlands, allowing the release into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and methane (a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide) produced from decaying organic matter.
To see whether this catastrophic domino effect is a realistic possibility, the scientists conducted laboratory simulations studying the decomposition of wet bog peat for nearly two years.
Far from observing sudden releases of greenhouse gases, they found that carbon release and methane production slowed down considerably in deeply buried wet peat, most likely because deeper peat is shielded from exchange of water and gases with the atmosphere.
In connection with previous work, the study concluded that "even under moderately changing climatic conditions," peatlands will continue to sequester, or isolate from the atmosphere, their huge deposits of carbon and methane.
American Chemical Society
Beyond the Ice Age
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
New webcam allows world to watch live polar bear migration
Ottawa (AFP) Nov 2, 2011
An estimated 1,000 polar bears linger outside the Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over around this time, every year. Tourists flock to the town to see them. But this year, cameras turned on the polar bears are also bringing a front row view of their annual migration to anyone with an Internet connection. A group of philanthropic and animal we ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|