New York: NASA is interested in studying how oceans and plant ecosystem take up carbon, and if the warming climate will prevent them from doing so in the future.
Growing carbon emissions have become a concern for ecologists across the world and if these ecosystems someday stop absorbing carbon, the effects of climate change could be much more severe, scientists said.
NASA estimates that nearly half of the carbon emitted by humans is absorbed through these natural land and marine processes.
But the agency is worried that it may change. As the carbon in the atmosphere warms up the climate, the heat may alter how marine and land ecosystem absorb carbon, The Verge reported.
To better understand how these natural carbon absorption processes work, NASA plans to use data gathered from upcoming NASA satellite missions and multi-year field campaigns to create models of how these ecosystem work.
NASA has already gathered data for this purpose using its Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a satellite launched last year to measure carbon dioxide from the top of the atmosphere down to the planet’s surface.
Other missions will involve flying over coral reefs and phytoplankton blooms to see how they were influenced by climate and changing ocean chemistry.
The space agency also noted that new instruments would be added to the International Space Station to better observe plants and forests.
The satellite data and field research will be used to create scientific models that can better predict how carbon-absorbing ecosystem will react to the changing climate.