The scientists, however, did not stop with this. They also noted that only between 2009 and 2010, the country has exported more than double the amount of carbon produced by burning of coal.
The findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Biogeosciences, and it is one of the 14 regional and continental studies around the world, part of the Regional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP).
The researches estimated the amount of land carbon that has been either gained or lost through plants and soil as carbon levels rise. This increase in concentrations were considered to be due to changing climate, increased effect of fires, erosion and deforestation.
The importance of these processes for domestic carbon management and international reporting protocols, is very high, hence why their choice for the study was justified.
The aim of the study was to determine the changes in carbon flows over the past two decades, and compare the results to data from the past 100 years.
According to Dr Vanessa Haverd, in warmer regions of the world, the increase in plant production through carbon dioxide fertilization is greater. In the case of Australia, because of increased carbon dioxide, the quantity of plant production has increased with around 15%.
The scientist adds that the data collected during the study could contribute towards better understanding of carbon storage and the responses to climate variability. This is particularly important since extreme droughts and floods are expected to increase in the coming years. In addition, such data could aid the quantification of the impact of fires on the net carbon balance.
The study also revealed that on average around 2.2 billion tones of carbon is taken up by plants over the past decade. Interestingly, the findings indicate that grassy vegetation is responsible for most of the carbon uptake, not forest habitats. In addition, the biosphere in the country has absorbed more carbon than the amount introduced by human activities. The final conclusion of the study is that carbon fertilization has caused an increase in the total amount of carbon uptake for the period 1990-2011.