Has the USGS made any Biologic Carbon Sequestration assessments?

The USGS is congressionally mandated (2007 Energy Independence and Security Act) to conduct a comprehensive national assessment of storage and flux (flow) of carbon and the fluxes of other greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) in ecosystems.

At this writing, reports have been completed for Alaska, the Eastern U.S., the Great Plains, and the Western U.S.

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How does carbon get into the atmosphere?

Atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from two primary sources—natural and human activities. Natural sources of carbon dioxide include most animals, which exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product. Human activities that lead to carbon dioxide emissions come primarily from energy production, including burning coal, oil, or natural gas. Learn more:...

How much carbon dioxide does the United States and the World emit each year from energy sources?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2019, the United States emitted 5.1 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide , while the global emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide totaled 33.1 billion metric tons.

Which area is the best for geologic carbon sequestration?

It is difficult to characterize one area as “the best” for carbon sequestration because the answer depends on the question: best for what? However, the area of the assessment with the most storage potential for carbon dioxide is the Coastal Plains region, which includes coastal basins from Texas to Georgia. That region accounts for 2,000 metric...

What’s the difference between geologic and biologic carbon sequestration?

Geologic carbon sequestration is the process of storing carbon dioxide (CO2) in underground geologic formations. The CO2 is usually pressurized until it becomes a liquid, and then it is injected into porous rock formations in geologic basins. This method of carbon storage is also sometimes a part of enhanced oil recovery, otherwise known as...

How much carbon dioxide can the United States store via geologic sequestration?

In 2013, the USGS released the first-ever comprehensive, nation-wide assessment of geologic carbon sequestration , which estimates a mean storage potential of 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide. The assessment is the first geologically-based, probabilistic assessment, with a range of 2,400 to 3,700 metric gigatons of potential carbon dioxide...

What is carbon sequestration?

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change. The USGS is conducting assessments on two major types of carbon...
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Date published: March 11, 2014

Amazon Carbon Dynamics: Understanding the Photosynthesis-Climate Link

What controls the response of photosynthesis in Amazon tropical forests to seasonal variations in climate?

Date published: July 28, 2009

Carbon Sequestration: Implications for Wyoming

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research hydrologist Dr. Yousif Kharaka will present a talk in Cheyenne, Wyo. about the feasibility and implications of capturing and storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide underground in depleted oil fields and deep rock formations with salty aquifers.

Date published: March 30, 2009

Marshes Using CO2 to Cope with Global Warming

Carbon Dioxide Stimulates Marsh Elevation Gain, Helping Offset Flooding from Sea Level-Rise
Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide may help some coastal marshes keep up with rising sea level by stimulating plant production and marsh building.

Date published: May 28, 1998

Climate Change May Affect the Carbon Balance of a Rocky Mountain Wetland

BOSTON--The carbon balance of wetlands in the southern Rocky Mountains may be very sensitive to small changes in local climate, according to recent research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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March 22, 2019

How Does Carbon Get Into the Atmosphere?

A short video on how carbon can get into the atmosphere. 

Uncovering the Ecosystem Service Value of Carbon Sequestration in National Parks. Photo by Robert Crootof, NPS.
December 8, 2016

A valley with smog pollution from Carbon Sequestration.

Uncovering the Ecosystem Service Value of Carbon Sequestration in National Parks. Photo by Robert Crootof, NPS.

Measuring soil CO2 efflux
October 2, 2012

Measuring soil CO2 efflux

Measuring soil CO2 efflux at the Bemidji Crude Oil Spill research site

January 27, 2011

PubTalk 1/2011 — Capture and Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

Is Sequestration Necessary? Can We Do It at an Acceptable Total Cost?

By Yousif Kharaka, USGS National Research Program


  • Combustion of fossil fuels currently releases approximately 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere annually
  • Increased anthropogenic emissions have dramatically raised
video thumbnail: Potential Effects of Elevated CO2 and Climate Change on Coastal Wetlands
September 30, 2010

Potential Effects of Elevated CO2 and Climate Change on Coastal Wetlands

This video provides an overview of direct and indirect effects of increases in atmospheric CO2 on coastal wetlands using a salt marsh-mangrove community as an example.  A short background is given summarizing past, present, and future predicted changes in CO2 concentrations based on ice core data and direct measurements conducted at monitoring

Attribution: Land Resources
Major Carbon Pools

Major Carbon Pools

Infographic showing major carbon storage pools