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Life Science Zurich Communication & Events

Global warming accelerates CO2 emissions from soil microbes

When Microorganisms decompose organic material in the soil, they actively release CO2 into the atmosphere. This process is called heterotrophic respiration. A novel model shows that these emissions could surge by up to 40 percent by the end of the century – most significantly in the polar regions.

Photograph: Keystone / Eye of Science

In brief

  • It is projected that by the end of the century, CO2 emissions from soil microbes will escalate.
  • Recent model estimates further show that microbial CO2 emissions in the polar regions will increase twice as much as in the rest of the world.
  • In cold regions, the primary driver behind the higher CO2 emissions by microbes is attributed to soil moisture, whereas in other geographical zones, the rise in temperature is associated with increases in emissions.

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