Bogs Watched for Warning Signs of Carbon Upset
The peat bogs that produce sphagnum moss for your garden center may seem like lowly ecosystems. But globally, these bogs contain more carbon than all the world's tropical rainforests. A decade ago, scientists started to worry that as the world warms, this vast store of carbon could vent out as carbon dioxide and speed up global warming. NPR's Richard Harris visited a peat bog in Ontario, where researchers are trying to understand the role of bogs in climate change.
For the past eight years, researchers from McGill and Trent universities have set up a series of experiments at Mer Bleue bog to measure potential changes in carbon respiration. The bog plants take in carbon dioxide during the day, and release it at night. That balance is critical because land plants produce about 10 times as much carbon dioxide as that produced by burning fossil fuels. The difference is plants absorb more of the gas than they produce.
But scientists are concerned that as humans release greater amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrogen into the atmosphere, it may change the cycle of these carbon sinks.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.