“This was a great effort from a group of Yale F&ES scientists which started as talk over coffee and ended with an important finding,” said Raymond, a professor of ecosystem ecology.
The study is an offshoot of an analysis of 13 major river basins in the U.S. conducted by Butman while he was at F&ES. Using trends observed during that research, he and the other authors, while at Yale together, expanded the scope to include field sites from the Arctic to tropical ecosystems.
While the impact of this increase on the carbon cycle is not clear, it certainly suggests that humans are reducing how much carbon is stored in the land through changes in the land, Butman says.
Henry Wilson is now at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Brandon Research Centre; Rebecca Barnes is an assistant professor at Colorado College; and Marguerite Xenopoulos the final author is an associate professor at Trent University.
The original paper:
Butman, David E.; Wilson, Henry, F.; Barnes, Rebecca T.; Xenopoulos, Marguerite A.; and Raymond, Peter A. 2014. Increased mobilization of aged carbon to rivers by human disturbance. Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo2322