As we know, plants require carbon dioxide to survive. Until now, that was in our advantage as the world’s vegetation was capable of sucking up a large part of the CO2 emissions we release in our planet’s atmosphere. Now, however, climate change with its extreme weather blocks carbon dioxide absorption in plants.
At least that’s the conclusion of a new study carried out by the scientists from Columbia University. According to them, the current plants’ absorption rate of CO2 emissions might not last for long so that we might soon face another problem caused by global warming.
“Should the land reach a maximum carbon uptake rate, global warming could accelerate, with important consequences for people and the environment,” stated Pierre Gentine, one of the study’s authors.
In the research, scientists pointed out that the Earth’s hydrological cycle, such as droughts or floods, changed due to climate change, impacting the rate at which the plants trap CO2 emissions.
Extreme Weather Blocks Carbon Dioxide Absorption in Plants
By employing various climate models, the researchers managed to estimate the reductions in net biome productivity (NBP) which is the amount of carbon a region gains or loses over a specific period.
“We saw that the value of NBP, in this instance a net gain of carbon on the land surface, would actually be almost twice as high if it weren’t for these changes (variability and trend) in soil moisture,” said Julia Green, another researcher involved in the new study.
“This is a big deal!. If soil moisture continues to reduce NBP at the current rate, and the rate of carbon uptake by the land starts to decrease by the middle of this century – as we found in the models – we could potentially see a large increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and a corresponding rise in the effects of global warming and climate change,” Julia Green added.
“This study is highly valuable as it shines a bright spotlight on just how important water is for the uptake of carbon by the biosphere,” also said Chris Schwalm, an associate scientist at Woods Hole Research Center and an expert in global environmental change.
Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.