A new report, published on Wednesday Nature suggests that the earth's vegetation may not be able to further absorb human carbon dioxide emissions at current rates, causing climate change speed up and increase its impact.
Humans pump nearly 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, and about 50 percent of these emissions are absorbed by plants in the terrestrial and oceanic biospheres. The negative effects of the large amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed by the Earth's vegetation are reflected in unprecedented coral bleaching events and acidification of the ocean.
Although carbon dioxide is required to grow plants, there is a limit to the amount of CO2 they can absorb. According to the lead authors of the new study, Columbia University Environmental Engineer Pierre Gentine and his graduate student Julia Green, the impact of extreme events such as drought and flooding on the ground reduces the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by the earth's vegetation.
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The rate at which plants can absorb greenhouse gases depends largely on how fluctuations in the water cycle ̵
Research shows that soil moisture droughts and floods are already reducing the Earth's ability to absorb carbon at current levels.
"That's a big deal," said Gentine. "If soil moisture continues to increase net military productivity at the current rate reduced and the rate of carbon uptake by the country begins to decline midway through this c entury – as we could see in the models – There could be a sharp increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and a corresponding increase in the impact of global warming and climate change. "
In short, the ability of plants and soil The absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is already influenced by the different and extreme weather events that are caused by man-made climate change. As these effects become more pronounced, the Earth will continue to absorb carbon dioxide, aggravating the extreme weather and creating a vicious cycle.
Gentine said the study highlights the need to devote more resources to studying the response of plants to water stress, so that these findings can be better incorporated into models.
In the meantime, Gentine said, "We all need to act now to avoid major consequences of climate change."