Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener
WASHINGTON, DC—Scientists have long suspected that a flourishing of green foliage around the globe, observed since the early 1980s in satellite data, springs at least in part from the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Now, a study of arid regions around the globe finds that a carbon dioxide “fertilization effect” has, indeed, caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010.
Focusing on the southwestern corner of North America, Australia’s outback, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa, Randall Donohue of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia and his colleagues developed and applied a mathematical model to predict the extent of the carbon-dioxide (CO2) fertilization effect. They then tested this prediction by studying satellite imagery and teasing out the influence of carbon dioxide on greening from other factors such as precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes.
- Randall J. Donohue and Tim R. McVicar
- CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia;
CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe's warm, arid environments -http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract
H/t Marc Morano