Plants Might Lose The Ability To Absorb Human-Made Carbon Dioxide Emissions

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According to a new study issued this week in the Nature journal, the plants lose their capacity to absorb human-made carbon dioxide emissions. At the current rate at which we produce CO2, the Earth’s vegetation might not be able to store the carbon dioxide.

Every year, humans release more than 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the planet’s atmosphere. Currently, about 50 percent of these emissions are absorbed by plants. However, soon, Earth’s vegetation might lose its ability to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, a group of researchers from the Columbia University stated. That would lead to increased global warming and ocean warming which would intensify the episodes of coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

The plants capacity of absorbing carbon dioxide emissions depends on the variations in the water cycle, such as droughts and floods. Using different climate models, the researchers assessed how periods of either drought or floods affect plants.

Plants Might Lose The Ability To Absorb Human-Made Carbon Dioxide Emissions

“Essentially, if there were no droughts and heat waves, if there were not going to be any long-term drying over the next century, then the continents would be able to store almost twice as much carbon as they do now,” said Pierre Gentine, the study’s leading author.

“This is a big deal. If soil moisture continues to reduce the net biome productivity 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,” Gentine added.

Thus, shortly, plants might lose the ability to absorb human-made carbon dioxide emissions, a fact that would eventually accelerate global warming. “We all really need to act now to avoid greater consequences of climate change,” Gentine concluded.


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