Sequestration Of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide As Inorganic Carbon In The Unsaturated Zone Of Semi-arid Forests | 55598
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change
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We propose tackling CO2 reduction using an economical and sustainable, low-tech method to reverse the secondary
processes of deforestation, specifically in semi-arid regions. These areas, which comprise ~17% of the global land area,
are characterized by erratic and low amounts (25-70 cm/yr) of precipitation, enough to support small trees. The Yatir forest
in Israel is an example of reforestation in a semi-arid zone. The forest's trees act as pumps, taking in CO2 through stomatal
apertures in their leaves, and then pumping out CO2 through root respiration underground into the thick water unsaturated
zone (USZ). HCO3- bicarbonate in the resulting USZ aqueous solution interacts with soil minerals to form and then precipitate
a variety of secondary carbonate salts. Radiocarbon dating proves that this sequestration is long term. Consider a volume in
the USZ of this forest (1 square km area, 6 m depth). Our measurements show that the carbonate salt precipitation within this
volume of sediment is approximately equivalent to 37.8 tons CO2 per year. The world's semi-arid zones cover approximately 23.
million square km. Taking Yatir forest data to be representative, our very rough potential global CO2 annual sequestration rate
estimate in the world's (to be planted) semi-arid forests is then ~1 billion tons CO2/yr, precipitated as inorganic carbonate salts
within the USZ. This value represents ~5% of the 20 billion tons CO2/yr rate by which the CO2 in the atmosphere is currently
increasing. Our estimates should be checked and refined by extending the Yatir forest studies to other semi-arid regions.
Murray Moinester is an Emeritus Professor of Physics. He received his PhD from the University of Rochester in 1968 and then joined the faculty at Tel Aviv University. He served as guest Professor for extended periods at many leading universities and accelerator laboratories. He has extensive experience in experimental and computational methods. He carried out many research programs in high energy particle and nuclear physics. He published some 200 scientific papers in refereed journals, authored some 75 conference papers; worked as a patent writer, in the field of Archaeology on infrared imaging & scientific dating, on statistics analysis for the social sciences, and on climate engineering.