Carbon dioxide Current Affairs - 2020

Key Facts: Deep Carbon Observatory

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) is a global research program to outreach carbons role on Earth. It is a community of scientists including physicists, biologists, geo – scientists and chemists working across several traditional disciplinary lines.

Key highlights of DCO research

  • It has found that there are ultra – deep diamonds at 670 km depth in the mantle. It has signatures of geochemical signature of organic material from Earth’s surface.
  • There may be significant amounts of iron carbide in the Earth’s core that accounts to two – thirds of Earth’s carbon
  • It has identified abiogenic sources of methane from crust and mantle. Abiogenesis is a hypothetical theory which proposes that fossil fuels are formed from inorganic matter rather than by decomposition of organisms or organic matter.
  • The complex links between biosphere and geosphere and their evolution. The links are reflected in major events like Great Oxidation Event
    • Great Oxidation Event – Around 2.4 billion years ago, biologically induced molecular oxygen accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere. This changed the atmosphere to an oxidizing atmosphere from a weak reducing atmosphere. The even caused almost all lives on the Earth to go extinct. Scientists are still unable to determine causes of the event.
  • The Volcanic flux of carbon – dioxide is twice as that of previously determined.

DCO Explorations

The DCO explores

  • High pressure and Extreme temperature organic synthesis
  • Complex interactions between organic molecules and minerals
  • Conducts field observations of deep microbial eco systems
  • Constructs theoretical models of lower crust and upper mantle carbon sources
  • Conducts observations of anomalies in petroleum geochemistry

Reservoir and Flux community of DCO

The subduction of tectonic plates and volcanic outgassing are the main sources of carbon fluxes. But the process and rates of these carbon fluxes are poorly understood. The main function of the Reservoir and Flux community of DCO is to explore the storage and transport of carbon in the deep interior of the Earth.

The Deep Earth Carbon Degassing Project of DCO is examining if large reservoirs of carbon are hidden in the mantle and core. It also works on finding how this carbon outgasses from the Earth’s deep interior into the surface environment.

Deep Energy wing of DCO

It quantifies the processes and environmental conditions that control origins, forms, quantities and movements of carbon compounds. This community of DCO predominantly works around carbon compounds that were reduced from deep carbon compounds through geologic time.

It conducts investigations in 25 global terrestrial and marine environment to determine the processes controlling movements of abiotic gases and their origin, form, quantities. It also discriminates abiotic and biotic methane gas and organic species.

The Deep Energy community also quantifies the rates of fluid rock interactions that produce abiotic hydrogen.

Deep life wing of DCO

It documents the interaction between the carbon cycle and diversity of Earth’s deep biosphere. It marks the diversity of subsurface marine and continental microorganisms in space and time and their interaction with the deep carbon.

The wing conducts Census of Deep life annually. This census identifies the diversity and distribution of microbial life in continental and marine deep subsurface environments.

According to the 2018 census by the Deep life wing of DCO, life forms on the earth including 70% of bacteria comprises up to 23 billion tons of carbon. They live up to 4.8 km deep underground including 2.5 km below the seabed.

State of the Global Climate in 2018

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) unveiled the State of the Global Climate in 2018 Report. The highlights of the report are:

  • Extreme weather events impacted close to 62 million people in 2018 and displaced more than two million as of September of that year.
  • The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels
  • 2018 witnessed a record sea level rise and high land and ocean temperatures.  2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and the four warmest years on record all took place between 2015 and 2018. The average global temperature is now around one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • 2018 also sets a new record for ocean heat in the top 700 meters (approximately 2,297 feet) and top 2,000 meters (approximately 6,562 feet).
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have jumped from 357 parts per million (ppm) in 1994 to 405.5 ppm in 2017.
  • Flooding which was the climate-related disaster that impacted the largest number of people in 2018 more than 35 million.
  • The global mean sea level hit a new record and was around 3.7 millimetres higher than in 2017.
  • Arctic sea ice extent registered record lows for February and January of 2018. The maximum extent in March of that year was the third lowest in the 1979 to 2018 satellite record.
  • Climate change could reverse progress made in fighting global malnutrition. In 2017, the number of people suffering from malnutrition increased to 821 million, and this was partly due to by droughts related to El Niño.
  • Around 125 million more people were exposed to heat waves between 2000 and 2016and the average heat wave grew 0.37 days longer compared to heat waves between 1986 and 2008.

WMO has warned that the world would witness temperatures increase 3-5C by the end of the century. Unveiling the report the UN Chief called on countries to come with concrete plans at an upcoming climate summit.