Global warming will cause the world’s soil to release carbon, new study reveals

The findings of new research suggest that global warming is releasing carbon from Earth’s soil.

Using data on more than 9.000 soil samples from all over the world, researchers discovered that carbon storage is “diminishing significantly” with rising average temperatures.

This is an example of “positive feedback” in which global warming leads more carbon to enter the atmosphere, intensifying climate change.

It is essential for the extent of carbon released to be determined by the type of soil; coarsely-structured (clay-rich) soils lose three times as much carbon as finely structured (clay-rich) soils.

Researchers from Exeter and Stockholm University say their findings are helping to identify threatened carbon deposits and an opportunity to improve Earth System Models (ESMs) that simulate future climate change.

‘Because there is more carbon stored in soils than there is in the atmosphere and all the trees on the planet combined, releasing even a small percentage could have a significant impact on our climate,’ Professor Iain Hartley, of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences, said.

By comparing carbon storage in sites where average temperatures differ, the researchers assessed the probable impacts of global warming.

With each 10 ° C temperature rise, average carbon stockpiles (across all soils) declined by more than 25 percent.

Renmin University of China

Renmin University of China, often referred to as RUC , or colloquially Renda , is a public research university located in Haidian District of Beijing. (wikipedia)

University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, (wikipedia)

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London School of Economics

The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university located in London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. (wikipedia)


London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a 50-mile estuary down to the North Sea, (wikipedia)

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