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Tracking the UK’s Carbon from Soil to Sea

December 20, 2016 |


This article was originally published on Science Daily

“This January scientists from a range of disciplines will come together to undertake the first ever coordinated sampling of the major rivers in Great Britain to look for soil derived organic carbon. This carbon is a large element of our ‘natural capital’ — in fact it is so large that restoring some damaged elements of it, such as upland peat bogs, could cost up to £570 million over the next 40 years. In recognition of this NERC has commissioned the major new programme, LOCATE (Land Ocean Carbon Transfer). One key early activity is to estimate the loss by sampling thirty rivers once a month for an entire year.

LOCATE uses the power of the highly distributed set of Centres NERC has across the nation to conduct this ambitious, sampling programme. Besides the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) who lead this project, the centres include; the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), together with the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, Scotland. Knitting together a sampling and analysis framework is no small task, for this reason LOCATE conducted a highly successful dry run in November 2016 in readiness for the formal start in the second week of January 2017.

British soil carbon provides society with a range of benefits. On fields, soil carbon supports crop production, whereas peatlands act to stock-pile carbon away from the atmosphere where it can lead to climate change. Carbon reserves are threatened by land-use change in changes in climate leading to increased losses from land to rivers, estuaries and oceans. These losses have been reported across Britain and Europe and pose a variety of risks including degraded drinking water quality through and decreased fertility of soils as well as potentially adding to man-made emissions to the atmosphere…”

Read on at: Science Daily.

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