More plant growth could slow global warming: NASA
(AFP) – 7 hours ago
WASHINGTON — In a world with twice as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, plants could grow larger and create a cooling effect on a warming globe, but could not halt or reverse climate change, NASA said Tuesday.
One of the main mysteries scientists face with climate change is how to project it over time, particularly how to account for Earth’s reaction to warmer temperatures, a phenomenon known as “feedback.”
It has long been known that plants — which use carbon dioxide, sun and water to grow through the process of photosynthesis — are able to adapt to higher carbon dioxide levels by using nutrients more efficiently and growing bigger leaves.
“The process is called ‘down-regulation.’ This more efficient use of water and nutrients has been observed in experimental studies and can ultimately lead to increased leaf growth,” NASA said in a statement.
But just what effect that increased plant growth would have on global warming has been difficult to predict.