Think Tank

The Chinese Academy of Sciences team found that global warming will weaken the carbon sink function of wetlands


Wetlands are an important "sink" of greenhouse gases, but there is increasing evidence that climate warming is significantly changing the structure and function of wetland ecosystems. How big is the impact? The latest research by the researchers of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has given a quantitative basis: if the global warming range is 1.5 ℃~2 ℃, the greenhouse gas "sink" function of wetlands will be weakened by more than half (about - 57%). This research was completed by Bao Tao, a postdoctoral fellow of the Key Laboratory of East Asia Regional Climate Environment of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with his co supervisors Jia Gensuo and Xu Xiyan. The paper was published in the international academic journal Nature Climate Change on March 21, 2023. Wetlands cover 6% of the Earth's surface area, but store one-third of the world's soil organic carbon. Wetland vegetation converts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into organic carbon through photosynthesis and accumulates in wetland soil. In addition, the anaerobic environment of wetlands makes the decomposition rate of organic carbon slower, so wetlands are the natural ecosystem with the fastest carbon accumulation rate. So, will climate warming stimulate wetlands to release more greenhouse gases? This is one of the key issues that global change research urgently needs to address. Bao Tao introduced: "Our research is based on data crawler technology and a meta-analysis method of inverse variance random effect models, integrating experimental data on anthropogenic warming conducted at 167 independent natural wetland sites from 1990 to 2022, and conducting research on the response of greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide to warming." The results show that even if the global average temperature rise is controlled within 2 ℃, Efforts will be made to limit the temperature rise to within 1.5 ℃, and the role of wetlands in mitigating climate change will still be significantly weakened. Jia Gensuo said, "On a large spatial scale, the differences in the functional groups of wetland dominant plants can well explain the uncertainty in the source and sink changes of greenhouse gases in wetlands in different warming simulation experiments. However, regardless of the functional groups of wetland dominant plants, warming promotes the net emission of methane in wetlands, because methanogens are more sensitive to changes in soil temperature than low affinity methanogens."

Edit:sishi Responsible editor:xingyong

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