Soil erosion that occurs in rainy seasons leads to a significant amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere, a new study shows.

Investigators who analyzed 240 runoff plots from different regions of the world found that organic carbon losses from soils corresponds to about one-sixth of annual fossil fuel-induced carbon emissions with highest rates for semi-arid soils followed by tropical soils and temperate soils.

"The organic carbon lost from soils is more likely to reach the atmosphere under semi-arid sandy soils of weak structure compared to clayey tropical or temperate soils where organic matter is more protected," said Dr. Vincent Chaplot, co-author of the study published in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

DOI: 10.1002/esp.3758