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British forest pumped full of CO2 to test tree absorption

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Researchers at a British University have embarked on a decade-long experiment that will pump a forest full of carbon dioxide to measure how it copes with rising levels of the gas – a key driver of climate change.

The Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) will expose a fenced-off section of mature woodland – in Norbury Park in Staffordshire, West Midlands – to levels of CO2 that experts predict will be prevalent in 2050.

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Scientists aim to measure the forest’s capacity to capture carbon released by fossil fuel burning, and answer questions about their capacity to absorb carbon pollution long-term.

“(Forests) happily take a bit more CO2 because that’s their main nutrient. But we don’t know how much more and whether they can do that indefinitely”, BIFoR co-director Michael Tausz told Reuters.

The apparatus for the experiment consists a series of masts built into six 30-metre wide sections of woodland, reaching up about 25 meters into the forest canopy.

Concentrated CO2 is fed through pipes to the top of the masts where it is pumped into the foliage.

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Last year the U.N World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the global average of carbon dioxide, the main man-made greenhouse gas, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere for the first time on record.

“The forest here sees nearly 40 percent more CO2 than it sees normally, because that’s what it will be globally in about 2050; a value of 550 parts per million, compared to 400 parts per million now,” Tausz said.

With deforestation shrinking the carbon storage capacity of the world’s forests, researchers hope that a greater understanding of their role in climate change mitigation could help policy makers make informed decisions.

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“We could get a clear idea of whether they can keep helping us into the future by sucking up more CO2,” said Tausz.

(Reporting by Matthew Stock, writing by Mark Hanrahan, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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