An international team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Southampton in the UK
The natural destruction and dissolution of rocks on the Earth's surface is called chemical weathering.
This process is extremely important because the products of weathering - elements such as calcium and magnesium - are washed away by rivers into the oceans, where they form minerals that hold CO₂.
This feedback mechanism regulates the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, in turn, the global climate.
“It turns out to be something like a feedback mechanism for regulating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air,” explains Professor of Oceanology and Climate Change Elko Rowling, one of the authors of the project.
Volcanoes emit colossal amounts of CO₂ intotime of extensive eruptions, seriously affecting the Earth's climate. These same volcanoes are subject to rapid weathering, the result of which is the removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere. “Volcanoes should be considered a kind of safety valve that regulates the climate,” adds the scientist.
Artificially enhanced weathering of rocks- when rocks are crushed and scattered over land to accelerate the rate of chemical reactions - can play a key role in the safe removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere, the study authors note. However, it is safer and faster to reduce emissions, they conclude.
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