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Over 50 Trillion Kilograms of Carbon Will Be Released From Soil if Climate Change Doesn't Stop

Dec 01, 2016 04:35 AM EST

A new study revealed that over 50 trillion kilograms of carbon could be released into the atmosphere from the soil by mid-century if no moves to mitigate climate change are successful.

The study, published in the journal Nature, showed that about 55 trillion kilograms of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane would be released from the soil's carbon storage as the planet continue to warm at a rapid phase.

"If climate change isn't stopped, an additional 55 trillion kilograms of carbon will be released into the atmosphere by the year 2050," explained Tom Crowther, a researcher at Netherlands Institute of Ecology NIOO-KNAW and lead author of the study, in a press release. "The effect will be roughly equivalent to adding another industrialized country to the planet, the size of the United States."

For the study, the researchers analyzed 20-years worth of data from 40 institutions all over the world. The researchers noted that the sub-arctic or areas in high latitudes holds the largest carbon stocks. These stocks have been continuously building up for thousands of years and can be negatively influenced by climate change.

Microbes living in the soil could be stimulated by climate change, resulting to more active soil life and faster release of carbon. If the recent warming trend continues, the researchers warned that the released of carbon stocks could be 17 percent more than the projected man-induced emissions during that period.

The carbon that is going to be released from the soil will be in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. The increase amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere will warm the planet further, stimulating more release of carbon from the soil. The researchers warned that it would be a full-fledged domino effect.

With their findings, the researchers hope that climate scientists would adjust international climate models. And with changes in the future predictions, the researchers recommend a few adjustments for the climate policy of different countries.

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