Loading Events

[DLS] Yinon Bar-On (Caltech)

Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2024 Time: 12:30 - 1:30pm Location: 54-100 Dixie Lee Bryant Lecture Hall | MIT Campus, Cambridge, MA

“Quantifying the Processes Driving the Land Carbon Sink”

Terrestrial sequestration of carbon is mitigating ≈30% of anthropogenic carbon emissions, a process known as the land sink. However, our current understanding of the land sink and its persistence is very limited. One key unresolved question is the relative contribution of terrestrial reservoirs —live or dead biomass, and soil and sedimentary organic carbon— to global carbon sequestration.  By analyzing global observational datasets of changes in terrestrial carbon pools, I partition carbon that has been sequestered in past decades into live biomass and non-living organic carbon pools. Comparing my observation-based estimates to predictions of state-of-the-art global vegetation models, I identify key processes not currently represented in models that can help better align the models with observations. Remarkably I find that most terrestrial carbon gains are sequestered as non-living organic matter, and thus more persistent than previously appreciated, with a substantial fraction linked to human activities such as river damming, wood harvest, and garbage disposal in landfills. I present a vision for how the dynamics of the different terrestrial pools could be better resolved using a combination of field data, remote sensing observations, and theory in a way that will improve our understanding of the future of the land sink.

[DLS] EAPS Department Lecture Series 

Weekly talks aimed to bring together the entire EAPS community, given by leading thinkers in the areas of geology, geophysics, geobiology, geochemistry, atmospheric science, oceanography, climatology, and planetary science. Runs concurrently with class 12.S501. 

Contact: eapsinfo@mit.edu