Soil naturally absorbs a huge amount of carbon. Some scientists think we can use it to our advantage in the fight against global warming.
carbon sequestration Archives - State of the Planet
The skin of the Earth is the color of tar,
Ridged, freshly healed like the seams of a scar.
Through salt-spattered sky, a gray-winged gull sails;
Steam gently rises, the island exhales.
Sitting on the iconic front steps of Low Library, Alma Mater rests on a plinth that offers a clue to a possible method of carbon sequestration, a vital technology for addressing our problem of too much CO2.
About 50 percent of the CO2 produced by human activity remains in the atmosphere, warming the planet. But scientists don’t know where and how oceans and plants have absorbed the rest of the manmade CO2. To try to answer these questions, on July 2, 2014, NASA launched the $468 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), its first Earth remote sensing satellite dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.
The idea of capturing carbon and storing it away offers an appealing solution to the “greenhouse gas” emissions from fossil fuels that are warming the planet. But how can we measure the process well enough to know what sort of impact the technology has?
In the Arabian peninsula nation of Oman, geologists are studying the Hajar mountains–a range containing rocks that have been thrust up from the deep earth. Accessible to humans in only a few places on earth, these kinds of rocks offer clues to the planet’s deep history–and possible ways that natural processes may be harnessed to combat modern climate change.
The desert sultanate of Oman is home to some of the weirdest—and possibly most useful—rocks on earth. The stark Hajar mountains, near the border with Saudi Arabia, contain a chunk of earth’s mantle—a zone that makes up most of earth’s mass, but normally lies inaccessible to humans, far below the surface. Here, though, a sliver of mantle has made its way up to where we can see and touch it. The outcrop has drawn scientists looking for clues to the dynamics of the deep earth; the origins of life; and, most recently, ways to fight climate change.
Under the shopping malls and highways of suburbia, there might one day be a partial fix for global warming. Since August, engineers have been drilling just west of the Tappan Zee Bridge to collect samples of rock from the Newark Basin, an ancient rock formation stretching beneath New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As they… read more