Increased Plant Growth Likely Not Enough To Counteract Carbon Emissions Increases

By on December 11, 2015
increased plant growth

Branches. (Credit: Public Domain)

Scientists had hoped that more plant growth would mean large additional carbon sink capacity enough to offset carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, but a recent study shows the capacity gained by plants may simply be inadequate for global warming trends. A University of Minnesota release suggests that plant growth has been increasing as global temperatures continue to rise but that the additional growth may not be enough to offset carbon dioxide increases.

The predicted plant growth amount with a warming climate in current models does not adequately reflect availability of water and it does not reflect a lack of adequate phosphorus and nitrogen in the soil, the study suggests. Satellite measurements suggest an inadequate amount of plant growth, compared to the amount of plant growth given in model estimates.

Allowable emissions limits standards may therefore be too low, since they are based on plant growth estimates from models, estimates which may be too high. Improved integration of ground measurements, satellite measurements and model estimates may lead to improved predictions of carbon dioxide sink capacity due to increased plant growth.

Top image: Branches. (Credit: Public Domain)

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