Could weathering in the Kali river catchment on the southwest coast of India capture CO2 to curb global warming?

Global warming is already having a significant impact on the Earth's system, and carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas responsible for rising global temperature. Most researchers are attempting to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere artificially. But there are natural phenomena through which carbon dioxide is trapped. One of which is weathering (breakdown of rocks into smaller pieces) of land surface rocks by chemical reactions among rainwater, carbon dioxide, rocks, and river water. In this regard, a researcher Mr. Arun Kumar from Manipal Institute of Technology Manipal, studied River Kali in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka under the guidance of Professor K. Balakrishna.

River water act as weathering agent and carry the weathered products in the form of dissolved and suspended materials to the ocean. This process lock-up carbon dioxide in the ocean's sediments for millions of years. Hence reducing the amount of carbon in the earth’s system.  This team investigated these processes in the River Kali. Their findings have been published in a peer-reviewed international journal (1). Research highlights the importance of India’s small west-flowing rivers in capturing more carbon dioxide than the small rivers from other regions of the world with similar climatic conditions. This is possible because the investigated regions receive higher rain, thus increasing the river flow. These rivers' carbon dioxide capturing capacity is much higher than the global average. Regular monitoring of these rivers might provide a further understanding of these processes.




Arun K, Balakrishna K, Amrish VN, Nishitha D, Udayashankar HN, Manjunatha BR, Khare N. Chemical denudation in a small mountainous coastal river in the tropics: Insights from Kali River, Southwestern India. Applied Geochemistry. February 2022; 137:105198. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2022.105198  (Q1-IF-3.841), H-index: 130; SJR:1.02.

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