A team of researchers points out at the dangers the Earth’s surface is storing. According to a new study on carbon emissions, the scientists fear that a large mass of harmful carbon dioxide will be set free into the atmosphere in the near future. This is mainly due to the rising temperatures that force the ice sheet to melt, ultimately exposing the soil.
Plants and microbes, in particular, absorb a great deal of carbon dioxide which has been previously released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. When they die, their bodies become part of the soil, capable of storing large amounts of greenhouse gasses in the ground.
While this may not be a cause for concern, since the dirt acts like a natural carbon dioxide sink, the amounts that are currently stored in the shallow layers of the Earth could re-enter the atmosphere. As a result, the massive and sudden release of carbon dioxide will be similar to adding one more fully industrialized country as big as the U.S. to the world map over the next decades.
According to the scientists, the continuous state of warming up will cause the and microbes to increase their respiration rate. In turn, this will produce more carbon dioxide together with methane. These are also the main causes of global warming. Once the collection of greenhouse gasses expands, the microbes living in the soil will once again increase their respiration rate, eliminating even more harmful gasses. As this cycle repeats itself, the planet will keep on warming up even more violently than before.
Researchers estimate that this way, up to 30 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide will be set free into the atmosphere by 2050. According to Tom Crowther of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, the lead author of the paper, this represents roughly 17 percent more emissions than projected for human-related activities.
This jump could deliver a devastating blow to the countries who signed the Paris Agreement earlier this November. Mainly because the nations’ efforts to maintain the global warming from constantly rising will not be enough to counter the massive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The issue at hand is even more serious, as the climate scientist didn’t take into consideration a sudden release of carbon dioxide emissions at the time the Paris Agreement has been signed because too little was known about the phenomenon.
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