Environmental Geology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 953–961

CO2 absorption by alkaline soils and its implication to the global carbon cycle

  • Jingxia Xie
  • Yan Li
  • Cuixia Zhai
  • Chenhua Li
  • Zhongdong Lan
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00254-008-1197-0

Cite this article as:
Xie, J., Li, Y., Zhai, C. et al. Environ Geol (2009) 56: 953. doi:10.1007/s00254-008-1197-0

Abstract

Motivated by the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 due to human activities since the Industrial Revolution, and the climate changes it produced, the world’s concerned scientific community has made a huge effort to investigate the global carbon cycle. However, the results reveal that the global CO2 budget cannot be balanced, unless a “missing sink” is invoked. Although numerous studies claimed to find the “missing sink”, none of those claims has been widely accepted. This current study showed that alkaline soil on land are absorbing CO2 at a rate of 0.3–3.0 μmol m−2 s−1 with an inorganic, non-biological process. The intensity of this CO2 absorption is determined by the salinity, alkalinity, temperature and water content of the saline/alkaline soils, which are widely distributed on land. Further studies revealed that high salinity or alkalinity positively affected the CO2 absorbing intensity, while high temperature and water content had a negative effect on the CO2 absorbing intensity of these soils. This inorganic, non-biological process of CO2 absorption by alkaline soils might have significant implications to the global carbon budget accounting.

Keywords

Saline/alkaline soilsSoil respirationCarbon sinkSoil electrical conductivityCO2 absorption

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingxia Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yan Li
    • 1
  • Cuixia Zhai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chenhua Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhongdong Lan
    • 1
  1. 1.Fukang Station of Desert Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Graduate SchoolChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina