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It's not just about climate change - What about soils?

January 1, 2010

Vladimir Vernadsky was one of the giants of geochemistry. Considered the founder of the fi eld of biogeochemistry and a true pioneer in “whole Earth” studies, he realized by 1945 that “Man under our very eyes is becoming a mighty and ever-growing geological force.” In the intervening 65 years, his “ever-growing force” has become a tidal wave. The global population has been increasing exponentially since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and as a result has increased by nearly a factor of three between 1945, when his observation was published, and today (see fi gure). Current projections anticipate a population exceeding 9 billion by 2050. This explosive human population growth has been fueled by ancient hydrocarbons and has come with high costs. Most Earth scientists are concerned with the implications of the rapid accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The consequences include a climate state without polar ice, acidifying oceans, and increasingly variable water fl uxes. The rate and extent of these and many other negative climate-related impacts, and how to mitigate them, have caused a vigorous discussion on climate change that is in the news on a nearly daily basis.

Publication Year 2010
Title It's not just about climate change - What about soils?
Authors Martin B. Goldhaber
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Elements
Index ID 70189046
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center