Approximately 30 percent of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere by human activities, mainly the use of fossil fuels and deforestation, is taken up by terrestrial ecosystems such as forests and grasslands.
The recent reports from the IPCC concluded that new land-use options to enhance this terrestrial carbon sink are needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate. "Yet, it is important to understand the best science-based estimate of where atmospheric CO2 is fixed in terrestrial ecosystems today, and our study makes a significant step in that direction," says Masayuki Kondo, an Assistant Professor at the Center for Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University.
The net CO2 balance between the atmosphere and land is referred to as the "net CO2 flux", which is the sum of CO2 absorption by photosynthesis (-) and CO2 emissions (+) due to respiration, decomposition of soil organic matter, forest fires, and land-use changes such as deforestation and forest conversion to farmland. A series of the IPCC assessment reports in the past have demonstrated that calculating the total CO2 balance over different regions of the globe is a challenging task.
Continue reading at Chiba University
Image via Chiba University