From: Science Daily
Published July 27, 2012 06:26 AM

Can Extreme Weather CONTRIBUTE to Climate Change?

While experts debate whether extreme weather conditions such as this summer’s record rainfall can be explained by climate change, University of Leicester geographers are investigating whether the opposite is true — does extreme weather impact on climate change?

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To answer the question, a team of researchers from the Department of Geography and Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester set up a new monitoring station in June to measure greenhouse gas emissions from drained and cultivated peatlands in the East Anglian Fens. They will make measurements over an extended period in order to record carbon emissions over a wide spectrum of weather conditions.

Their study, supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, will provide the first ever direct measurements of carbon dioxide emissions from degraded peat soils in the intensively farmed English Fens, which are widely recognised as the largest land use related source of this greenhouse gas in the UK.

Professor Heiko Balzter, Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research and Professor of Physical Geography, said: "Preserving greenhouse gases that are stored in peat soils is being recognised more and more as a way to fight climate change. Extreme weather can change the amount of greenhouse gases being released from peat soils. At the same time, these emissions influence future climate itself. We have a feedback loop here, where cause and effect influence each other. Land managers and politicians are looking for solutions to the climate problem. We hope to be able to contribute to finding them."

East Anglia via Shutterstock.

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