Increased Plant Growth From Higher CO2 Levels Can Slow But Not Stop Global Warming


photo: www.bluewaikiki.com/Creative Commons

In case you were holding out hope that all that extra CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere would stimulate enough extra plant growth to balance out any future increases in global temperature, give it up: New computer modeling from NASA shows that while increased plant growth from doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will indeed induce some cooling, it's far from enough to offset global warming.The model found that the cooling effect of increased plant growth would be -0.3°C for global temperatures and -0.6°C over land. The same model found that doubling CO2 levels would lead to 1.94°C warming without the effect of increased plant growth--that's well on the low side of other models, which show up to 4.5°C temperature increases (or higher) under the same conditions.

The report authors really stress the point that increases in plant growth projected by this model do not alleviate projected temperature increases--we're not off the hook, in other words. They also note that this research is just another important step in learning how these complex systems are likely react, so we can learn more about how the climate will change and is changing.

Read more: Science Codex
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Tags: Carbon Emissions | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Science

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