Human activity churns out up to 100 times more planet-warming carbon each year as all the volcanoes on Earth, says a decade-long study released Tuesday.
The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), a 500-strong international team of scientists, released a series of papers outlining how carbon is stored, emitted and reabsorbed by natural and manmade processes.
They found that manmade carbon dioxide emissions drastically outstrip the contribution of volcanoes — which belch out gas and are often fingered as a major climate change contributor — to current warming rates.
The findings were published in the journal Elements.
Manmade emissions in 2018 alone topped 37 gigatonnes.
Celina Suarez, associate professor of geology at the University of Arkansas, said modern manmade emissions were the “same magnitude” as past carbon shocks that precipitated mass extinction.
“We are on the same level of carbon catastrophe which is a bit sobering,” she said.
By comparison, the CO2 released annually by volcanoes hovers around 0.3 and 0.4 gigatonnes — roughly 100 times less than manmade emissions.