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News Link • Climate Change

Warming Causes Plants To Release Gases That May Mitigate Global Warming

• Rebecca Boyle via PopSci.com
 

Plants could help cool down the warming world through their own climate change response, according to a new study. Trees and other plants are known to emit volatile organic compounds in response to stress--heck, they even make noise--but it’s unclear whether this affects the environment.

Some aerosols--small atmospheric particles--can contribute to cooling because they help form clouds, which reflect sunlight. The albedo effect from increased cloud cover contributes to cooler temperatures. But the role of plant aerosols in this process was not well understood.

To investigate this, Finnish researchers collected data from forests in 11 locations around Earth. They measured aerosol concentrations, plant gases, average temperatures, and the height of something called the boundary layer, which is where aerosols and atmospheric gases mix together.

They found that plant emissions do impact climate warming, but only by a tiny degree. Globally, enhanced plant emissions counter about 1 percent of global warming. In forested areas where plants are concentrated, the effect is a more meaningful 30 percent, however. That could mean heavily treed areas--like the boreal forests of Canada, Siberia and Finland--could warm up more slowly than heavily populated areas in more southerly latitudes.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Leslie Fish
Entered on:

They do more than that, thank you.  Plants INHALE CO2, and exhale Oxygen.  The way to stop CO2-caused Global Warming is to PLANT TREES -- lots of trees, everywhere -- and other plants to inhale the CO2 while the trees are growing to full size.  Planting lots of plants, especially trees, will do more to stop Global Warming than all the "cap and trade" and "carbon tax" schemes in the world.


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