Fire in the Ocean

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 287-288
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237688

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One of the great challenges of modern organic geochemistry is the determination of the chemical composition of Earth's largest active carbon pools: marine sediments, soils, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in both marine and terrestrial systems. Together these reservoirs are much larger than the atmospheric CO2 pool, and they exchange carbon with the atmosphere, making them potential CO2 sources or sinks in a changing climate. Rivers play a central role in the carbon exchange between all these reservoirs. On page 345 of this issue, Jaffé et al. (1) shed new light on the chemical composition of riverine DOC.