River Erosion from Severe Storms Creates a “Huge Carbon Sink”

(p. D3) When it comes to carbon balance, some rivers are doing the world a favor. In areas of high erosion, a river carries bits of soil and vegetation to the sea. Those bits contain much organic carbon, converted from atmospheric carbon dioxide by plants, so if they end up at the bottom of the ocean, the river has served as the transport mechanism for a huge carbon sink.

. . .

In a report in Nature Geoscience, the researchers calculate that the typhoon effect is so great that over several decades, almost all of the transport of organic carbon by the river occurs during storm-caused floods.

For the full story see:

Henry Fountain. “An Upside to Floods: Rivers Act as Transport For Huge Carbon Sinks.” The New York Times (Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008): D3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 20, 2008, and has the title “Rivers Act as Transport for Huge Carbon Sinks.”)

The research briefly summarized in the passages quoted above appeared in the academic article:

Hilton, Robert G., Albert Galy, Niels Hovius, Meng-Chiang Chen, Ming-Jame Horng, and Hongey Chen. “Tropical-Cyclone-Driven Erosion of the Terrestrial Biosphere from Mountains.” Nature Geoscience 1, no. 11 (Nov. 2008): 759-62.

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