Thursday, October 04, 2018

A Warmer Spring Leads to Less Plant Growth in Summer

Satellite observations show that warmer springs result in higher vegetation productivity in spring but (in many regions) in lower productivity in summer and autumn. (Credit: TU Wien) Click to Enlarge.
Climate change influences plant growth, with springtime growth beginning earlier each year.  Up to now, it was thought that this phenomenon was slowing climate change, as scientists believed this process led to more carbon being absorbed from the atmosphere for photosynthesis and more biomass production.  However, as evaluations of satellite data undertaken at TU Wien have now shown, this is not the case.  On the contrary, in many regions, an early spring actually leads to less plant growth.

The climate models that have been used until now need to be modified and the world's climate is in an even more critical state than previously thought.  The results have now been published in a large international study in the science journal Nature.
When spring-like weather starts earlier, it is reasonable to assume that plants will have more time to grow, absorb more carbon from the atmosphere and produce more biomass as a result.  But this is not the case.  The data does indeed show that the northern hemisphere is in fact greener in the spring when temperatures are especially warm.  Yet this impact can be reversed in the summer and autumn, even leading to an overall reduction of carbon uptake as a result of the rise in temperature.

Read more at A Warmer Spring Leads to Less Plant Growth in Summer

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