Climate - Underground CO2 sinks
Climate change may be atmospheric, but the secret to Earth's response could be buried underground. Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are using new molecular tools to characterize microbial life beneath the soil and determine the role bacteria, protozoa, viruses and fungi play in helping plants and soils take up the extra carbon dioxide collecting in the atmosphere. Such understanding is key to developing models of potential climate change scenarios and could also play a role in human attempts to mitigate and adapt to global warming. In one such project, ORNL researchers are studying microbial activity in a field of switchgrass, a potential bioenergy crop, the development of which could both help displace fossil fuel emissions and sequester unwanted carbon from those emissions.
October 10, 2007