Woods Hole Research Center Involved in Greenhouse Gas Study

Woods Hole ResearchHYANNIS – A study by an international research team published in the journal Nature finds that human activities result in significant emissions of greenhouse gases from land to the atmosphere.

Global climate change is caused primarily by CO2 emissions from human use of fossil fuels.

Deforestation, especially in the tropics, is also an important source of CO2 emissions.

But on the whole, land absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, primarily because of regrowth of mid-latitude forests.

This study, written in part by researchers from the Woods Hole Research Center, shows that when two other greenhouse gases are taken into account, human activities on balance result in a strong warming influence from land.

The research team, comprised of 23 scientists from 16 institutions in four countries, notes that “this finding reveals for the first time that human activities have transformed the land biosphere to act as a contributor to climate change.”

The researchers also show that the net effect of these three gases varies by region.

In Southern Asia, a region including China and India, the net climate warming effect is largest.

As one of the authors notes, “a reduction in agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions in particular in Southern Asia may help mitigate climate change.”

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