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One size does not fit all when exploring how carbon in soil affects the climate

Hsiao-Tieh Hsu loads samples on the SGM beamline.

Hsiao-Tieh Hsu loads samples on the SGM beamline. 

Credit: Canadian Light Source
May 4 2018

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In the News, Students

Scientists from Stanford University are opening a window into soil organic carbon, a critical component of the global carbon cycle and climate change.

"We have to know what kind of carbon is in soil in order to understand where the carbon comes from and where it will go," said Hsiao-Tieh Hsu, a PhD student in chemistry at Stanford University and a member of a Kate Maher's research group.

The natural fluxes of soil organic carbon, the exchange of carbon moving from vegetation to the soil and recycled by microorganisms before being stabilized in the soil or returned to the atmosphere, is 10 to 20 times higher than human emissions. Even the smallest change in the flux of soil organic carbon would have a huge impact on the climate.

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