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UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies
Date:11/14/2008

UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies

University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues have found a way to improve existing estimates of the amount of carbon absorbed by plants from the air, thereby improving the accuracy of global warming and land cover change estimates, according to a paper published in the Nov. 13 issue of the journal Science.

By knowing the effects of plants on the atmosphere, scientists will be better able to determine the amount of human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) injected into the atmosphere, according to Greg Carmichael, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the UI College of Engineering and co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER).

"This work demonstrates a technique to get a direct estimate of the photosynthetic uptake by plants over large regions," he said. "This is critical because in the carbon budget analysis we need to be able to quantify the various sources of carbon dioxide, especially the carbon dioxide from anthropogenic activities and the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants.

"Both are needed if we are to come up with better management strategies in reducing manmade emissions and in the case of plants increasing their carbon uptake," said Carmichael, who was named in September to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on the significance of the international transport of air pollutants.

In addition to Carmichael, the paper's UI co-authors include lead author Elliott Campbell, who participated in the study while earning his doctoral degree at Iowa and who currently is assistant professor of engineering at the University of California, Merced; Tianfeng Chai, former postdoctoral student at CGRER and currently at the U.S. EPA Air Resources Lab, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Marcelo Mena-Carrasco, former UI doctoral candidate and currently at the Department of Environmental E
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Contact: Gary Galluzzo
gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu
319-384-0009
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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