The quantity of carbon that our planet will release in the atmosphere from the soil by 2050, provided that climate change will not stop, is 55 billion tons. The greenhouse gases, such as methane and CO2 are some of the most dangerous signs of global warming and its effects.
A new study, published Dec. 1 in the journal Nature, was conducted on a global scale in order to better understand the complex effects of climate change on the soil.
Greenhouse Gases - A Worldwide Study
During the past decades, scientists have estimated the possible effects of climate change on the soil carbon, as this is where the largest blocks of carbon are stocked. Thousands of studies have been conducted in the attempt to understand the effects of global warming on the soil; some suggest that the planet's capacity to store carbon will decrease because of the climate change, others suggest the opposite.
The worldwide study conducted by Tom Crowther from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology NIIO-KNAW has brought an answer to the question of the effect of carbon release from the soil. According to the research, the effect of this will be similar to adding an industrial country to our planet, roughly the size of the United States.
Greenhouse Gases From The Soil - New Environmental Danger
The study advocates for climate change in order to avoid a dangerous path. The effects of greenhouse gases are no longer a supposition, as this study manages to measure the impact of its release from the soil. The researcher fears the potential domino effect that this trend could unleash in terms of environmental issues.
"It's about 17 percent more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period," noted Crowther.
According to the research, climate change will cause a phenomenon similar to a feedback loop, as part of which the massive amount of carbon trapped underground will return into the atmosphere as emissions of greenhouse gas, in a much larger quantity than expected. These emissions could be one of the hardest obstacles that the fight against global warming will be forced to face.
"This is really critical, because if the additional release of carbon is not counterbalanced by new uptake of carbon by plants then it's going to exacerbate climate change and increases the urgency to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions," explained Jonathan Sanderman, researcher in charge of studying soil changes under climate change.
While these soils are true reason for concern, they could be employed in the plans of diminishing the effects of climate change. Good management could make them part of a sustainable solution to this problem.