Researchers are pumping carbon dioxide into a forest to measure how it copes with rising levels of the gas – a key contributor to climate change.
The decade-long experiment, which is being conducted by University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research, will expose a fenced-off section of woodland in Norbury Park, Staffordshire, to levels of CO2 that experts predict will be prevalent in 2050.
The Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment experiment aims to measure the forest’s capacity to capture carbon released by fossil fuel burning, and answer questions about the capacity of trees to absorb carbon pollution long-term.
Michael Tausz, the university’s co-director of forest research, said: Forests happily take a bit more CO2 because that’s their main nutrient. But we don’t know how much more and whether they can do that indefinitely.
The experiment consists of a series of masts built into six 30-metre wide sections of woodland, reaching up about 25 metres into the forest canopy.
Concentrated CO2 is fed through pipes to the top of the masts, where it is pumped into the foliage.
Last year, scientists at the UN World Meteorological Organisation estimated that carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide levels were at their highest in at least 800,000 years.
(c) Sky News 2017: Scientists pump CO2 into UK forest to measure effect of climate change