CO2 emissions are detected in arid areas that affect the carbon cycle

arid zone of cabo de gata nijar

During the last decades, there are numerous studies that have focused on the exchange of greenhouse gases between the atmosphere and the biosphere. Of the most studied gases, there is always the first CO2 since it is the one that is increasing its concentration the most and increasing the temperature of the planet.

One third of all CO2 emissions caused by human activities are absorbed by terrestrial ecosystems. For example, forests, rainforests, wetlands and other ecosystems absorb CO2 emitted by humans. Also, although it may not seem like it, deserts and tundras do too.

The relationship between wind and underground ventilation

The role of arid regions such as deserts has, until very recently, been ignored by the scientific community despite the fact that there are studies showing that they have a great influence on the global carbon balance.

The present study has demonstrated the great importance of underground ventilation motivated by the wind, a process commonly overlooked that consists of the release of CO2-laden air from the subsoil into the atmosphere when the soil is very dry, mainly in summer and in days windy.

The experimental site in Cabo de Gata

The place where the experiments have been carried out is a semi-arid spartal located in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park (Almería) in which the researchers have recorded CO2 data for six years (2009-2015).

Until recently, the majority belief of scientists was that the carbon balance of semi-arid ecosystems was neutral. In other words, the amount of CO2 that was emitted by the respiration of animals and plants was compensated by photosynthesis. However, this study concludes that There are large amounts of CO2 that accumulate in the subsoil and that at times of high wind are emitted into the atmosphere, causing additional CO2 emissions.

That is why it is important to know the CO2 emissions of arid systems to better understand the global CO2 balance.

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