Missing sink


  • M. Catherine White


Preliminary results at a Duke University research forest exposed to high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide suggest plants might transfer excess CO2 into groundwater, where it could remain stored away for thousands of years. The finding, if bolstered by further research, might lower predicted impacts of global warming due to CO2 emissions from industry and vehicles as well as help solve a mystery: why there is 29% less CO2 in the atmosphere than current emissions inventories suggest there should be. “While it wouldn't explain all of that “missing sink,” if you push the calculations, it may explain maybe one-fifth of it,” said Duke botanist William Schlesinger.