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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Zombie Carbon Destroys Climate Change Metrics


1469662422_brazil deforestation 1

Zombie Carbon Emissions Haunt the Planet

Decomposing trees release a huge volume of lagging CO2, killing species and hobbling efforts to fight global warming.

Deforestation in the Amazon region dropped by 30 percent  from 2005 to 2010, sparing trees that soak up carbon dioxide. A big win in the fight against climate change, right? 
Maybe not big enough to save the planet, or the species on it.
After trees are cut down, they gradually decay, releasing carbon, degrading the habitat, and threatening species long after the cutting stops. These lagging emissions have an important impact on the battle against global warming, a study released today in the journal Current Biology finds. Even with the 30 percent reduction in Amazon deforestation, there was only a 10 percent decrease in carbon emissions, the researchers found.
Vegetation Carbon Emissions and Species Losses from the Deforestation of Tropical Forests from 1950 to 2009. (A) Vegetation carbon emissions, separated into those that occurred from deforestation that took place in that year (immediate) versus those that occurred as a result of time lags in the release of carbon from deforestation in previous years (committed). (B) Species losses, separated into those that have already occurred (loss) and those that will occur as a result of time delays in the extinction of species (debt). Error bars represent 95 percent confidence intervals from 100 model replicates. Graphic: Rosa et al., 2016 / Current Biology

And even if tropical deforestation had ended altogether in 2010, there would still be 8.6 petagrams (10 to the 12th kilograms) of emissions released into the atmosphere as trees decomposed, the equivalent of five to 10 years of global deforestation. That's roughly the annual amount of total global emissions, said Abigail Swann, a University of Washington professor who studies climate change and who wasn't involved in the study.

Drought under global warming

Because the subtropical regions support conditions conducive for arid climates, deserts will march northward into more densely-inhabited regions. Under continued fossil-fuel burning, the Sahara Desert leaps across the Mediterranean and fully expands into southern and central Europe. 

A spate of real-time clocks – watch the numbers 

Global temperature 1.0112C degrees

World population 7,445,300,000

Carbon 403.4ppm 

C02 emissions 19,525,000,000 tonnes 

US Debt $19,420,000,000,000

Deforestation 7,934,000 hectares

93.4% of global warming goes into oceans. 


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