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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

One billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the air in Africa

The problem of the water shortages caused by global warming is much more complex than we have thought. In some parts of Africa, people not only need to face thirst but also the fact that the regions impacted by drought emit a quantity of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions of two hundred million cars each year.

Analysis of satellite data collected over a decade, led by the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh has shown that in the northern region of tropical Africa, 1 to 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon is released into the atmosphere each year.

The study has shown that the soil that deteriorates as a result of extended
and repeated periods of drought and changes in land use releases stored carbon dioxide in the western regions
of Ethiopia and in the western part
of Africa’s tropical regions.

“The carbon source might have gone undiscovered with land-based surveys alone,” wrote the researchers, who analysed data gathered by two NASA satellite missions, GOSAT and OCO-2.

The specialists compared the data from the satellites with three atmospheric models showing changes in vegetation, and other measurements of ground water, fires in the region and levels of photosynthesis.

The study is the result of a decade of work involving hundreds of engineers and scientists, with assistance from the space agencies of several countries.

Regions in Africa affected by drought emit as much carbon dioxide each year as two hundred million cars Photo: Shutterstock

Source: MTI – Hungarian News Agency

Further information: Phys.org

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