More CO2…more plant food

Plants gobbling up CO2 – 45% more than thought

From the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres a clear indication for those “CO2 is plant food” scoffers that the plants don’t care what they think.

Productivity of land plants may be greater than previously thought

Researchers recommend the reworking of global carbon models in Nature

This press release is available in German.

For the news study the reseachers analyzed also datas of the Cape Grim air archive at CSIRO’s Aspendale laboratories. The Air Archive is an irreplaceable collection of air samples from Cape Grim, northwest Tasmania. It is like a library or museum of air that provides valuable information about greenhouse and ozone depleting gases. Every three months, researchers have filled stainless steel flasks with about 1 000 litres of pristine air, which is then stored in the Cape Grim Air Archive at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Aspendale, Victoria. The Cape Grim Air Archive was initiated by Dr Paul Fraser in 1978, knowing that one day scientists might be interested in measuring gases that at the time were not being (or could not be) measured. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research near Melbourne in Australia undertakes research into the atmospheric environment and belongs to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Credit: Photo: Tilo Arnhold/UFZ

London – The global uptake of carbon by land plants may be up to 45 per cent more than previously thought. This is the conclusion of an international team of scientists, based on the variability of heavy oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere driven by the El Niño effect. As the oxygen atoms in carbon dioxide were converted faster than expected during the El Niño years, current estimates for the uptake of carbon by plants are probably too low. These should be corrected upwards, say the researchers in the current issue of the scientific journal NATURE. Instead of 120 petagrams of carbon, the annual global vegetation uptake probably lies between 150 and 175 petagrams of carbon. This value is a kind of gross national product for land plants and indicates how productive the biosphere of the Earth is. The reworking of this so-called global primary productivity would have significant consequences for the coupled carbon cycle-climate model used in climate research to predict future climate change.

Lisa Welp of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego and her colleagues evaluated the data for the global isotopic composition of the greenhouse gas CO2 over the last 30 years. This analysis indicated regular fluctuations between years and a connection with the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific. Overall, El Niño years are warmer. They are also characterised by greater precipitation in South America and less intensive monsoons in Southeast Asia.

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Update: The Ocean benefits too,

Ocean Acidification — a little bit less alkalinity could be a good thing

In Brief: The oceans are not acidic, and will not become acidic in the foreseeable future. Many of the fears and alarming scenarios are based on models. Many scary headlines are based on studies of extreme pH values beyond the range of anything realistic.

Incredibly, hundreds of studies show that for pH changes that we are likely to encounter in the next 100 years, there is arguably a net benefit to underwater life if the oceans became a little less alkaline…

…The bottom line:

Yes, we should watch and monitor the oceans careful. No, there is no chance the Great Barrier Reef will be gone in the next 100 years: 1103 studies show that if the worlds oceans were slightly less basic then marine life as a whole will be slightly more likely to grow, survive, and be fertile.

That doesn’t mean we should torch coal seams for the fun of it, but it does mean we can afford to hold off on the oceanic panic for a century or so while we figure out how to make solar and wind power work ( in the event that we might need them, and in the event that they might “work”).

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About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley)
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3 Responses to More CO2…more plant food

  1. Pingback: Pseudoscience continues…paid from your taxes | pindanpost

  2. Pingback: The folly of trying to reduce CO2 emissions… | pindanpost

  3. Pingback: Lights out, heating off… | pindanpost

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