Climate Letter #1052

New information about why carbon does or does not remain stored in soil.  This may at first come as a surprise, but the amount of CO2 that is released from the soil each year as plant matter decays is constrained by how much oxygen finds its way into the soil.  There are tiny little dead zones naturally scattered around that prevent bacteria from working on the carbon inside, and that is a good thing.  The study tells how those zones can be broken down, releasing CO2—quite fascinating.
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In the case of lakes it is a completely different story, as a shortage of oxygen is destructive to their ecosystems.  This story is about a study that shows how lakes are suffocating, in part because as their water gets warmer it does not mix as well from the top down, plus the damage done by a number of fertilizing effects.  There is special attention given to the overloading of sediments on lake bottoms with organic matter.
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Climate change can have a significant effect on volcanic activity in Iceland.  In times past it can be shown that activity was reduced when the island’s glacial ice was building up.  With ice now rapidly melting the opposite effect is expected, probably with a time lag.  “Changes in surface pressure can alter the stress on shallow chambers where magma builds up.”  Icelandic eruptions can have devastating effects, especially over Europe.
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An analysis of the way different countries are reaching their peak of CO2 emissions.  By the year 2020, 53 countries will have peaked, representing 40% of total global emissions.  That figure will rise to 60% when China peaks in following decade, and as things now stand that is when year-by-year declines should get started in earnest.
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An update on the advantages of electric cars.  It’s all pretty amazing, and sales globally are on the same fast track.  Cars with a 500-mile range and superfast charging will soon be available.
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Germany will have fourteen hydrogen-powered trains in operation by late 2021, replacing diesel engines.  A French company is the manufacturer.
Carl
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