News & AnalysisClimate Change

An Unsung Carbon Sink

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Science  18 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6058, pp. 886-887
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6058.886-b

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Soil scientists in China are measuring calcium and bicarbonate ions in karst in an effort to work backward to figure out how much carbon dioxide has been taken out of the air. The answer could have global implications. Carbonate karst formations cover roughly 15% of Earth's land surface, including broad swaths of southwestern China. Limestone degradation could be a substantial inorganic carbon sink, experts say.

  • * Christina Larson is a writer in Beijing.