How the two scientists balance the Earth’s natural carbon balance

Extensive views of Colorado’s East River basin. Credit: Brian Saccardi

Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently published their first findings to understand the amount of CO by adopting a process-based modeling approach.2 Rivers and streams contribute to the atmosphere. Focusing on the East River basin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the team found that the new approach was far more accurate than the traditional approach that overestimated CO.2 An early online version of the study was recently published by Global biogeochemical cycle.

Scientists refer to total CO2 Circulating the earth and the atmosphere Carbon balance..This budget includes both sources of anthropogenic CO2, Derived from burning fossil fuels, more natural CO sources, etc.2 It is part of the planet’s normal carbon cycle. “In the age of global climate change, Brian Saccardi, a graduate student in earth sciences at UMass Amherst and the lead author of new research, said:2 Without such a baseline, it would be difficult to know how the Earth is changing as CO.2 The level goes up.

Streams and rivers are one of many places that naturally emit CO.2— Scientists have known this for a long time, but it was a very difficult number to identify.Partly this is due to CO2 Emissions fluctuate rapidly, and physical monitoring of all river networks on Earth has proven impractical.Therefore, scientists usually rely on statistical models to estimate the amount of CO.2 Rivers and rivers emit. According to Saccardi, the problem is that the model doesn’t fully consider the complexity of CO.2 What happens and how much is released into the atmosphere as it moves from groundwater to streams and rivers.

“This is the first time we have accounted for it. Physical process Matthew Winnick, a professor of earth sciences at UMass Amherst and co-author of the paper, said:2 It works, so I know how to react to climate change. “

Saccardi and Winnick have designed, tested, and validated a “process-based” model that relies on the laws of physics and empirical measurements to reach estimates. The pair was able to measure rivers in the East River basin of Colorado 121 times and test new models against them. And the results were clear: research shows that their model is much more accurate than the standard approach.

Saccardi and Winnick quickly pointed out that the conclusions apply only to the East River basin, but are planning process-based applications in the future. model Broadly, I suspect that their new method may help fundamentally reassess the Earth’s natural carbon balance.

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For more information:
Brian Saccardi et al, Improved Stream CO 2 Concentration and Flux Prediction Using Stream Network Model: Case Study in the East River Basin, USA, CO, Biogeochemical cycle of the world (2021). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GB006972

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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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