Model estimates of CO2 emissions from soil in response to global warming

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jenkinson, D. S., Adams, D. E. and Wild, A. 1991. Model estimates of CO2 emissions from soil in response to global warming. Nature. 351 (6324), pp. 304-306.

AuthorsJenkinson, D. S., Adams, D. E. and Wild, A.

One effect of global warming will be to accelerate the decomposition of soil organic matter, thereby releasing CO2 to the atmosphere, which will further enhance the warming trend 1-7. Such a feedback mechanism could be quantitatively important, because CO2 is thought to be responsible for approximately 55% of the increase in radiative forcing arising from anthropogenic emissions of gases to the atmosphere 8, and there is about twice as much carbon in the top metre of soil as in the atmosphere 9. Here we use the Rothamsted model for the turnover of organic matter in soil 3 to calculate the amount of CO2 that would be released from the world stock of soil organic matter if temperatures increase as predicted, the annual return of plant debris to the soil being held constant. If world temperatures rise by 0.03-degrees-C yr-1 (the increase considered as most likely by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 8), we estimate that the additional release of CO2 from soil organic matter over the next 60 years will be 61 x 10(15) gC. This is approximately 19% of the CO2 that will be released by combustion of fossil fuel during the next 60 years if present use of fuel continues unabated. 

KeywordsRRES175; 175_Soil science; 175_Climatology
Year of Publication1991
Journal citation351 (6324), pp. 304-306
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code14
Publication dates
Online23 May 1991
Publication process dates
Accepted11 Apr 1991
PublisherSpringer Nature

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