Climate Change Weekly #97
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are bolstering plant life throughout the world, environmental scientists report in a newly published peer-reviewed study. The findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, are gleaned from satellite measurements of global plant life and contradict assertions by activists that global warming is causing devastating droughts and expanding deserts.
A team of scientists led by environmental physicist Randall Donohue, a research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, analyzed satellite data from 1982 through 2010. The scientists documented a carbon dioxide “fertilization effect” that has caused a gradual greening of the Earth, and particularly Earth’s arid regions, since 1982. The satellite data showed a remarkable 11 percent increase in foliage in arid regions since 1982.
The study noted that foliage in warm, wet regions such as tropical rainforests are near their maximum capacity. In warm, arid regions there is room for greater increases in foliage and rising carbon dioxide levels are inducing more prevalent plant growth.
Carbon dioxide acts as aerial fertilizer and also helps plants thrive under arid conditions. Although global precipitation has increased during the past century as the Earth has warmed, elevated carbon dioxide levels are assisting plant life in warm, dry regions independent of – and in addition to – increases in global precipitation.
The satellite data show plant life in the United States has especially benefited. Satellite data show foliage has increased in the vast majority of the United States since 1982, with the western U.S. benefiting the most. Indeed, many western regions experienced a greater than 30 percent increase in foliage since 1982.
Other regions showing particularly strong increases in foliage include the Sahel region of Africa, the Horn of Africa, southern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and nearly all of Europe.
IN THIS ISSUE
Trees use water more efficiently as carbon dioxide levels rise … Climate models fail to replicate precipitation patterns … New study: cold temperatures are deadly
TREES USE WATER MORE EFFICIENTLY AS CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS RISE
Trees use water more efficiently as carbon dioxide levels rise, a newly published peer-reviewed study reports. Scientists with the U.S. Forest Service, Harvard University, Ohio State University, Indiana University, and Germany’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate found rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are having a “direct and unexpectedly strong influence” on photosynthesis, water efficiency, and plant growth. The study finds rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will enhance plant productivity and plant resistance to drought.
SOURCE: United States Forest Service
CLIMATE MODELS FAIL TO REPLICATE PRECIPITATION PATTERNS
Global climate models utilized by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fail in their attempts to replicate global land and ocean precipitation patterns, according to a new paper published on meteorologist Anthony Watts’ science blog Watts Up With That? National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show the models are failing particularly strongly regarded predicted changes in precipitation over land surfaces.
SOURCE: Watts Up With That?
NEW STUDY: COLD TEMPERATURES ARE DEADLY
Human mortality and health problems rise significantly during cold spells, Portuguese scientists report in a recent peer-reviewed study. The human body responds to cold weather by reducing blood flow to peripheral parts of the body, which can lead to dangerous health conditions, the scientists report. The findings add weight to prior findings that cold temperatures are more deadly than heat.
SOURCE: NIPCC Report