|| (In and) Out of Africa: Estimating the Carbon Exchange of a Continent|
by Niall Hanan|
the diverse elements of the global carbon cycle has been the focus of much
recent research [Prentice et al.
2001, Schimel et al. 2001, Gurney et al. 2002, House et al. 2003]; research that is vital to our understanding of
the missing sink, future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and future
climate [Fan et al. 1998, Houghton et al.
1998]. Much research has concentrated on carbon dynamics of the large ocean
basins [Lee et al. 1998, Le Quéré et al. 2003] and terrestrial
exchange in North America and Eurasia [Pacala et al. 2000, Schimel et al. 2000]. Despite representing 20% of the global land
mass, Africa has thus far been largely
neglected in these studies. We will examine current understanding of carbon
stocks and fluxes within Africa and discuss
how uncertainty in global carbon dynamics arises in part from uncertainty in
the African components. We outline areas where new measurements and research in
Africa can contribute to understanding at both
continental and global scales.
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