Global Charcoal Mobilization from Soils via Dissolution and Riverine Transport to the Oceans

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 345-347
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231476

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Dissolving Charcoal

Biomass burning produces 40 to 250 million tons of charcoal per year worldwide. Much of this is preserved in soils and sediments for thousands of years. However, the estimated production rate of charcoal is significantly larger than that of decomposition, and Jaffe et al. (p. 345; see the Perspective by Masiello and Louchouarn) calculate that a large fraction of the charcoal produced by fires is lost from the land through dissolution and transport to the oceans.