Toxic future: A recent study marked regions that are likely to become CO2 hotspots because of mangrove loss, even in a ‘business as usual’ scenario | Photo: IAS Express

Study maps future hotspots of CO2 emissions due to mangrove loss

A new study mapped out future hotspots of carbon dioxide emissions as a result of mangrove loss. It identified six regions, which includes the Bay of Bengal, that were vulnerable to this change in a ‘business as usual’ scenario. The study, led by Australia’s Griffith University, estimated the emissions from this loss to be 2,391 Teragram carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent by the end of this century. The highest emissions were estimated to be in southeast and south Asia because of conversion to aquaculture or agriculture followed by the Caribbean because of clearing and erosion of mangroves. The Andaman coast (north Myanmar) and north Brazil also made it to the hotspot list because of erosion of mangroves in the regions.   

Study updates estimates of carbon emissions and removals from forests

A recent study revealed a significant drop in global emissions from net forest conversion, from a mean of 4.3 in 1991–2000 to 2.9 Gt CO2 yr−1 in 2016–2020. The study, published in Earth System Science Data, also found that while forest land was a significant carbon sink globally, it decreased in strength between 1990 and 2020, from −3.5 to −2.6 Gt CO2 yr−1. The study also found that between 2011-2020, forest the net contribution of forests to atmospheric CO2 was very low – a sink of less than −0.2 Gt CO2 yr−1. This finding is significant as this is the first time an estimate for the past decade has been published.

Global glacier loss accelerated rapidly in past 20 years: Study  

Globally, glaciers lost 298 gigatonnes of ice annually between 2015 and 2019. The study, led by ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse, analysed around 2.2 lakh glaciers, excluding Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets. Between 2000 and 2019, the world’s glaciers lost 267 gigatonnes of ice per year on average, the study found. But this rate accelerated rapidly by the turn of the century. The melt led to 21% of the observed rise in sea levels between 2000 and 2020. The contribution of glacial melt to sea-level rise was 0.74 mm per year.  

Forest fires in northern hemisphere likely to speed up climate change: Study

Current models underestimate the impact forest fires and drying climate have on the northernmost forests of the world, a new study stated. The study, published in Science Daily, observed 30 years of NASA satellite imaging data, to find that forests will not be able to sequester much carbon in the future if emissions are not reduced urgently. According to the researchers, fires in these regions are increasingly taking out more forest land, which could account for the rising drop in biomass in these forests. The finding is significant as the northern forests absorb a huge chunk of the world’s CO2 emissions.

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