Browse/search for people

Publication - Dr Natalie Lord

    The ‘long tail’ of anthropogenic CO2 decline in the atmosphere and its consequences for post-closure performance assessments for disposal of radioactive wastes

    Citation

    Lord, NS, Ridgwell, AJ, Thorne, MC & Lunt, DJ, 2015, ‘The ‘long tail’ of anthropogenic CO2 decline in the atmosphere and its consequences for post-closure performance assessments for disposal of radioactive wastes’. Mineralogical Magazine, vol 79., pp. 1613-1623

    Abstract

    The extended timescales involved in the decay of radioactive wastes to
    safe levels mean that geological disposal facilities must continue to
    function effectively long into the future. It is therefore essential to
    consider long-term climate evolution in post-closure performance
    assessments
    in order to evaluate a geological disposal system's response and
    robustness to a variety of potential environmental changes, driven by
    both natural and anthropogenic forcings. In this paper, we illustrate
    the multiple decay components that characterize the primary driver of
    climate change
    – atmospheric CO2 – in response to fossil fuel carbon emissions. We perform a multi-exponential analysis on a series of atmospheric CO2 decay curves predicted by an Earth system model and create an empirical response function that encapsulates the long-term
    (>1 kyr) removal of excess CO2 from the atmosphere. We present this response function as a simple tool for rapidly projecting the future atmospheric CO2 concentration resulting from any plausible cumulative release of CO2. We discuss the implications of
    the long 'tail' to this atmospheric CO2 decay curve, both in terms of future climate evolution as well as potential impacts on radioactive waste repositories.

    Full details in the University publications repository