Nonlinearities in Phosphogenesis and Phosphorus-Carbon Coupling and Their Implications for Global Change

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Abstract

The exponential increase in mining of igneous and sedimentary phosphates, and their utilization in agriculture, industry, and the household in the last few decades have lead to a progressive mobilization of phosphorus, which affects the global phosphorus cycle to an increasing degree (Sheldon, 1969, 1982; Stumm, 1973; Lerman et al., 1975). The present-day anthropogenic share in the transfer of reactive phosphorus from sedimentary and igneous reservoirs into the marine and terrestrial biosphere amounts to an estimated 0.4x1012 g P/yr. This number approximates 35% of total phosphorus influx rates into the oceans and, according to Mackenzie et al. (this volume), may balance 10% of the yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 from manmade sources, assuming an average atomic C/P ratio of 250:1, and a complete and permanent storage of the biologically produced carbon (Figure 1; cf. Mackenzie et al.; Meybeck, both this volume).