CANBERRA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Australian landscape soaked up one third of the carbon emitted by fossil fuels in Australia over the past twenty years, a latest study from Australia's top science institution CSIRO found recently.
The 3-year study, the Australian Terrestrial Carbon Budget, published this month in the journal Biogeosciences and outlined on Wednesday at the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network symposium, Canberra.
According to the findings, Australia exported 2.5 times more carbon in fossil fuels in 2009-2010 than was emitted from fossil fuels burned within Australia.
In the study, scientists quantified how much land carbon is lost or gained through plant and soil "breathing" in response to variable climate and rising carbon dioxide. Effects of fires, erosion and deforestation were also considered. All these processes together with fossil fuel emissions are critical to domestic carbon management and international reporting protocols.
"For Australia as a whole, increased carbon dioxide has caused a 15 per cent increase in plant production over the last two decades, relative to pre-industrial times," Lead author Dr Vanessa Haverd said.
The study data will help the understanding of how carbon stored in the Australian landscape responds to climate variability--the swings between drought and flood.
"It is important to know that carbon stored in the land during periods of high plant growth may disappear again during the next drought."
"Understanding any trends and changes in fire regime or intensity, particularly in the savanna fires of Northern Australia, is important for quantifying the impact of fire on the net carbon balance," she said.