Science and policy: new insights into terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric carbon flow and implications for stormwater management policy

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Adams, S., L.A. Kaplan, and E. Ritchie. 2008. Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation WEFTEC 2008:2828–2829.

doi: 10.2175/193864708788734485


Anthropogenic influences on the global carbon cycle have affected terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric carbon pools and flows. Accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere is recognized as a global environmental threat that is altering weather patterns, melting glaciers, changing season length and affecting species distribution. Increasing evidence suggests more dire consequences to follow including sea level rise, mass extinctions, and spread of disease, drought, and desertification.

Although other gases contribute to global warming, the vast majority of the effect is due to carbon dioxide (CO2) with the majority of this arising from combustion of fossil fuels. With few ready alternatives to fossil energy, growing energy demand from developing countries, and an increasing world population, there is no clear path to stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentration. The general consensus is that there will not be a single solution for the problem but rather progress will be made through a variety of means that reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon sequestration.