Carbon cycle: Carbon feedbacks
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A carbon feedback occurs when an initial change in the carbon cycle has a knock-on effect that either increases or reduces the initial change. Any process that amplifies an initial release or absorption of carbon is a positive carbon feedback, while processes that reduce the initial change are negative feedbacks.
Many different factors influence the Earth’s climate. Professor Graf’s work focuses on a range of these factors, from human activity to volcanic eruptions. ‘Understanding what drives our climate and its variability is both fascinating (just look at clouds or volcanic eruption plumes) and essential to the society.’ Professor Graf’s work has resulted in the first successful simulation of the climate effects of a big volcanic eruption. However he’s quick to emphasise the complexity involved in such work. ‘There are always struggles with the big computer models and our work would benefit from more reliable observations. However, our understanding of the basic physics involved in the field is quite good.’