The depiction of the world’s natural landscapes through detailed maps may help scientists to predict the impact of climate change more successfully.
The concept of how carbon from the atmosphere is reused and recycled by the natural habitats of the Earth is depicted through complex charts of grasslands, forests, and many other productive ecosystems.
It is a known fact that all pf these landscapes absorb and process increased quantities of carbon dioxide, yet not much information is available on where the carbon is stored, and for how long carbon stays there.
Carbon storage maps
Researchers have used field study data and satellite images to explain where carbon is stored, and the period it remains in soils, trees, and plants. The research team, headed by Edinburgh scientists, state that understanding the process of storing carbon will help researchers to predict the climate change impacts more precisely. The maps highlight the fact that the biological properties of wood, roots, and leaves in varied natural habitats influence their potential to store carbon. These maps also highlight that carbon is retained for longer periods in a few ecosystems.
A computer model was used by the team to construct the maps and to examine an increased amount of field and satellite data.
A supercomputer at the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility was used to obtain values for all of the 13,000 cells present on each map. The model was used about 1.6 trillion times.
The maps are updated with new data as, and when it is available. The impact created by events, such as forest fires, on the ecosystems carbon storage ability can be determined within a period of three months.
This work was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
The work was executed in collaboration with Wageningen University, and part of the work was carried out at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Technology.