Automatgenererad bild.

17 March 2013

Breakfast seminar on global carbon cycles in April

During the spring, Mistra-SWECIA will hold seminars on current climate research. One of them will be about the important absorption of carbon dioxide by land and sea, how this can reduce climate change but also the concomitant risk of its acceleration.

To disseminate current research and reach public agencies and other users, a series of breakfast seminars are to be held by Mistra-SWECIA in the spring. This interdisciplinary programme is compiling evidence-based documentation for decisions on climate adaptation from research on how the climate is changing, what effects this is having and possible strategies for society’s adaptation to change.

One of the first seminars, at Lund University on 3 April, will address the latest findings about the global carbon cycle and how absorption of carbon dioxide by land and sea is affected by current climate change. One of the researchers attending the seminar is Jenny Hieronymus, a PhD student at Stockholm University’s Department of Meteorology.

‘The fact that the oceans and land absorb carbon dioxide is important in limiting the greenhouse effect. To date, the sea has absorbed roughly a quarter of anthropogenic emissions, and the land ecosystems have absorbed the same amount. If this carbon dioxide had not been removed from the atmosphere, climate change would have been even more rapid.’

Key marine carbon sink decreasing

Hieronymus is studying marine carbon cycle and developing methods for understanding in detail the many, complicated processes that govern the quantities of carbon dioxide that the oceans can absorb.

‘The buffer capacity of the seas to absorb carbon dioxide is progressively decreasing. The causes are complex and relate, for example, to concentrations of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in the water.’

The aim is to help bring about more precise climate models for studying future trends. This includes reaching an understanding of how CO2 absorption by the oceans is affected by a warmer climate.

At the seminar Anders Ahlström, a PhD student from the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science at Lund University, will also present his research. Ahlström is studying the capacity of land-based ecosystems to absorb and store carbon — something that also looks set to decrease with a warmer climate. Programme Director Markku Rummukainen will also attend the seminar.

Text: Andreas Nilsson, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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