Study Claims More CO2 Absorbed By Plants Than Previously Thought

The National Academy of Sciences has published the research in its journal, Proceedings. Climate and earth scientists from the University of Texas have claimed that between 1901 and 2010, living organisms absorbed 16% more CO2 than previous models assumed.

Study Claims More CO2 Absorbed By Plants Than Previously Thought

CO2 absorption: Why the change?

The researchers say that they have found the reason for which climate models overestimate the increase in carbon levels in the atmosphere. Calculating how much carbon dioxide present in the earth’s atmosphere is essential to predicting the effects of global warming on temperatures, however they admit that their findings will not impact global warming predictions.

It is incredibly difficult to model the impact of CO2 absorption by the oceans and living things. However in this new study, scientists analyzed the diffusion of carbon dioxide in leaves, and concluded that more of the gas is absorbed than previously thought.

Extrapolating this discovery to a global level is incredibly hard, according to Dr Lianhong Gu at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US: “There is a time lag between scientists who study fundamental processes and modellers who model those processes in a large scale model. It takes time for the the two groups to understand each other.”

A new model?

The scientific community is optimistic that the research can help to clarify existing models, but do not believe that we will experience any delay in global warming due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“This new research implies it will be slightly easier to fulfil the target of keeping global warming below two degrees – but with a big emphasis on ‘slightly’,” stated Dr Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

“Overall, the cuts in CO2 emissions over the next few decades will still have to be very large if we want to keep warming below two degrees.”

As interesting as the research may be, it does not negate the need for swift action to prevent atmospheric temperatures from increasing to potentially catastrophic levels.



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Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com