, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 953-961
Date: 26 Jan 2008

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

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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.