Carbon sources and sinks
Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network Year One Report
Part of the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network. In line with the workplan agreed at the inaugural meeting in February 2009, position papers were prepared on the topics covered in the first year, 2009. These papers, which are included in the document attached, have been used as the basis for the policy recommendations which are also included in the attachment. The policy material has no standing until it has been discussed by the Network and re-written where necessary so that it represents the views of as many members as possible.
Please note, this document is a draft. View the document: here
View the Carbon Cycles and Sinks website: here
Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?
Several recent studies have highlighted the possibility that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have started loosing part of their ability to sequester a large proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere, which has prevented additional climate change. This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found. Read the rest of the report: here
CO2 emissions from forest loss - Nature Geoscience Report
Deforestation is the second largest anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, after fossil fuel combustion. Following a budget reanalysis, the contribution from deforestation is revised downwards, but tropical peatlands emerge as a notable carbon dioxide source.
Read the report: here
Trends in the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide
Efforts to control climate change require the stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This can only be achieved through a drastic reduction of global CO2 emissions. Yet fossil fuel emissions increased by 29% between 2000 and 2008, in conjunction with increased contributions from emerging economies, from the production and international trade of goods and services, and from the use of coal as a fuel source. In contrast, emissions from land-use changes were nearly constant. Between 1959 and 2008, 43% of each year’s CO2 emissions remained in the atmosphere on average; the rest was absorbed by carbon sinks on land and in the oceans. In the past 50 years, the fraction of CO2 emissions that remains in the atmosphere each year has likely increased, from about 40% to 45%, and models suggest that this trend was caused by a decrease in the uptake of CO2 by the carbon sinks in response to climate change and variability. Changes in the CO2 sinks are highly uncertain, but they could have a significant influence on future atmospheric CO2 levels. It is therefore crucial to reduce the uncertainties.
Read the rest of the report: here