New research has found a large terrestrial carbon sink in a desert aquifer under the Tarim Basin in China. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by the production, burning or use of fossil fuels. Humans make lots of carbon dioxide every single day. It was previously assumed that carbon dioxide that was not absorbed by plants ended up hanging around in the atmosphere or in the ocean. Research conducted by Dr Yan Li from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography has found that in arid environments, carbon dioxide absorbed by irrigated crops finds its way into irrigation water, and seeps deep into the earth to rest in aquifers underground. These new findings could begin to explain some unknowns to the scientific community about the global carbon balance.