Black Carbon in the Environment: Combustion Residues – Sources and Fates, Characterization and Biogeochemical Implications
Symposium during the
9th Goldschmidt Conference
August 22-27 1999, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sponsored by: Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Harvard University , National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Black carbon, produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and vegetation fires, is relatively resistant to degradation and occurs ubiquitously in natural environments, including soils, sediments, seawater and the atmosphere. In recent years, geochemical and biological studies of different forms of black carbon (such as plant chars, charcoals, and soots) received increasing attention due to potential importances in a wide range of biogeochemical processes. For example, black carbon may represent a significant sink in the global carbon cycle, affect earth¢ s radiative heat balance, be a useful tracer for earths fire history, be a significant fraction of carbon buried in soils and sediments, and be an important carrier of organic pollutants.
Black carbon is presently being studied in a variety of widely separated scientific fields, with the result that essentially no generally accepted analytical protocols, terminologies and conceptual approaches exist. The aim of the symposium is to bring together a broad collegium of scientists ranging from geochemists to biologists and paleoenvironmentalists, to discuss the biogeochemical roles of black carbon in natural environments. In addition to stimulating interdisciplinary approaches, an additional goal of this symposium will be to encourage establishment of a collection of black carbon reference materials and to facilitate their comparative analysis by a range of commonly used techniques.
This emerging field of biogeochemical research will be addressed in two days of oral and poster presentations, including a special session dedicated to discussing potential comparison exercises. This symposium should attract a large number of participants from a broad and diverse background in carbon biogeochemistry, certainly including soil, sediment, and marine geochemists and biologists.