Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to rise – in 2012 alone, 35.7 billion tons of this greenhouse gas entered the atmosphere*.
Some of this CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, plants and soil. As such, they provide a significant reservoir of carbon, stemming the release of CO2. Scientists have now discovered how organic carbon is stored in soil. Basically, the carbon only binds to certain soil structures. This means that soil’s capacity to absorb CO2 needs to be re-assessed and incorporated into today’s climate models.
Previous studies have established that carbon binds to tiny mineral particles. In this latest study, published in Nature Communications, researchers of the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München have shown that the surface of the minerals plays just as important a role as their size. “The carbon binds to minerals that are just a few thousandths of a millimeter in size – and it accumulates there almost exclusively on rough and angular surfaces,” explains Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, TUM Chair of Soil Science.
For more on this article please see source: http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/31275/
*Source: Global Carbon Atlas