Earth's ability to absorb CO2 reduced by global warming, arctic study finds
Global warming reduces the amount of carbon dioxide the earth can absorb, which could amplify climate change, landmark research in Antarctica has revealed.
CSIRO researchers extracted ice bubbles in pre-industrial polar ice to measure the planet's sensitivity to changes in temperature.
They found that for every degree Celsius of global temperature rise, the equivalent of 20 parts per million less CO2 is stored by the land biosphere.
CSIRO principle research scientist Dr David Etheridge said the research confirmed the relationship for the first time and revealed how it impacted the cycles of carbon between land, ocean, and the atmosphere.
"Suddenly we could relate the CO2 changes to temperature," Dr Etheridge said.
"That's useful to know. It's a bit concerning because it's going to amplify the climate change, but it's good news in a way because it can be used in modelling."
The research team used ice core samples from the Australian Antarctic Program's unique Law Dome site, together with ice cores from the British Antarctic Survey.
The study focused on CO2 changes preserved in ice before, during, and after a naturally-cool period known as the Little Ice Age (1500 to 1750 AD).
"It gives global planners something to work with, to help estimate of what CO2 emissions are allowable to limit global warming to one and a half or two degrees Celsius," Dr Etheridge said.
The finding is a result of a collaboration between CSIRO, the Seconda Universita di Napoli, University of Melbourne, British Antarctic Survey, University of East Anglia, Australian Antarctic Division, University of Tasmania, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
Source: ABC News