Researchers predict huge CO2 release by 2050

As the Earth warms, it releases trapped carbon into the atmosphere. Just how much is likely to be released and the impact it could have on the planet has been the subject of much debate. EU-funded researchers can now offer new insights into likely soil activity in climate-change scenarios.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 4 December 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentAtmosphere  |  Climate & global change
Human resources & mobilityMarie Curie Actions
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Netherlands
Add to PDF "basket"

Researchers predict huge CO2 release by 2050

Image

© #219412870 | Author: Alexey Slyusarenko, 2018 fotolia.com

The EU-funded TRAIT project investigated the tangible links between the activity of soil microbial communities and the global carbon cycle by quantifying the effects of warming on soil carbon losses at a global scale.

As a result, Tom Crowther, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow, and the TRAIT team estimate that 55 trillion kilograms of carbon could be released into the atmosphere from the soil by 2050 if climate change is not stopped.

“The effect will be roughly equivalent to adding another industrialised country to the planet, the size of the United States,” according to the TRAIT team’s reporting of warming-induced changes in soil carbon stocks based on data from 49 field experiments across North America, Europe and Asia.

The researchers used a combination of trait-based and community-scale approaches to explore the relative importance of microbial community composition and climate conditions in governing patterns of acclimation potential across landscapes. For this, they had to feed the microbial physiological information into Earth system models, climate scenarios and other techniques to gain better insight.

Among other discoveries, they found that the effects of warming are contingent on the size of the initial soil carbon stock, with considerable losses occurring in high-latitude areas. Built up over thousands of years, the release of these sub-Arctic, high-altitude stocks is expected to be accelerated by climate change because micro-organisms in the soil are likely to become more active.

Factors that could slow – or speed up – this process further must be factored into climate-change scenarios, the researchers believe. With more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for instance, plant growth is accelerated. Findings and further insights from the project are presented in a short film and have been published in the journal Nature.

Project details

  • Project acronym: TRAIT
  • Participants: The Netherlands (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 657569
  • Total costs: € 165 598
  • EU contribution: € 165 598
  • Duration: July 2015 to June 2017

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details