Contact: Morgan Kelly
Caption: This video shows the extent to which the land acted as a source of carbon in the atmosphere (brown areas), or a carbon "sink" (green areas) that absorbed carbon from the atmosphere from 1868 to 2000. The darker the color means the greater amount of carbon an area generated or absorbed. During the 1950s and 1960s, the land switched from being largely a carbon source to primarily acting as a carbon sink. The researchers found that had terrestrial ecosystems remained a carbon source then 251 billion to 274 billion additional tons of carbon would currently be in the atmosphere.
Credit: Video by Sergey Malyshev, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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Related news release: Without plants, Earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon