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What is a Natural Sink?
The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) defines a sink as "any process, activity or mechanism which removes a grenhouse gas, an aerosol, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.
Our Natural Sinks
FORESTS - Through photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, store the carbon in sugars, starch and cellulose and release the oxygen into the atmosphere.
OCEANS - Represent the largest active carbon sink on earth. This role is driven by two processes, the solubility pump (seawater and the thermohaline circulation and the biological processes that transport carbon (in organic and inorganic forms) from the surface to the ocean's interior. A small fraction of the organic carbon transported by the biological pump to the seafloor is buried in anoxic conditions under sediments and ultimately forms fossil fuels.
SOILS - Carbon as plant is sequestered in soils. Soils contain more carbon than is contained in vegetation and atmosphere combined. Grasslands contribute to soil organic matter. Much of this organic matter can remain unoxidized for long periods of time.
While not mandatory, the new UNFCCC reporting guidelines encourage Annex 1 parties to provide information on the following indirect GHGs
SOx - sulphur oxides
NOx - nitrogen oxides
CO - carbon monoxide
NMVOCs - non-methane volatile organic compound
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