Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), a 10-year programme at the US National Academy of Sciences, has released a series of papers estimating the total carbon on Earth. This includes an analysis of the total carbon dioxide released by volcanoes, which are often viewed as a possible main contributor to such emissions, but which, it turns out, contribute much less than human activities.
Carbon dioxide out-gassed to the atmosphere and oceans from volcanoes and other magmatically active regions is estimated at 280 to 360 million tonnes per year, including that released into the oceans from mid-ocean ridges. Humanity’s annual carbon emissions through the burning of fossil fuels and forests, etc, are 40 to 100 times greater than all volcanic emissions, DCO said in a statement.
Two-tenths of 1% of Earth’s total carbon (43,500 gigatonnes) is above surface in the oceans, on land, and in the atmosphere. The rest is subsurface, 1.85 billion Gt in all, DCO said.
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