Global Warming

Carbon Pollution

Smoke from the massive Australia bushfires of recent months will contribute to an anticipated record annual rise in atmospheric carbon emissions this year, according to Britain’s Met Office.

The CO2 concentration is predicted to peak above 417 parts per million (ppm) in May, while the 2020 average should be around 414 ppm. That would be nearly 3 ppm above the 2019 average, according to the agency.

Smoke from the protracted bushfire crisis will contribute up to one-fifth of the CO2 increase caused by global warming’s altered weather patterns and the resulting effects on the landscape, the British experts say.

As our planet gets greener, plants are slowing global warming

In a new study, published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, the researchers report that climate-altering carbon emissions and intensive land use have inadvertently greened half of the Earth’s vegetated lands.

Green leaves convert sunlight to sugars while replacing carbon dioxide in the air with water vapor, which cools the Earth’s surface. The reasons for greening vary around the world, but often involve intensive use of land for farming, large-scale planting of trees, a warmer and wetter climate in northern regions, natural reforestation of abandoned lands, and recovery from past disturbances.

And the chief cause of global greening we’re experiencing? It seems to be that rising carbon dioxide emissions are providing more and more fertilizer for plants, the researchers say. As a result, the boom of global greening since the early 1980s may have slowed the rate of global warming, the researchers say, possibly by as much as 0.2 to 0.25 degrees Celsius.

Global Warming

Global ‘greening’ has slowed rise of CO2 in the atmosphere

A global “greening” of the planet has significantly slowed the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the start of the century, according to new research.

More plants have been growing due to higher CO2 levels in the air and warming temperatures that cut the CO2 emitted by plants via respiration. The effects led the proportion of annual carbon emissions remaining in the air to fall from about 50% to 40% in the last decade.

However, this greening is only offsetting a small amount of the billions of tonnes of CO2 emitted from fossil fuel burning and other human activities and will not halt dangerous global warming.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned on Tuesday that 2011-15 was the hottest five-year period ever recorded and that climate change had increased the risk of half of extreme weather events, with some heatwaves made 10 times more likely by global warming.

Global Warming

Carbon dioxide making earth greener, reveals new research

The earth is getting greener because of higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, new research shows.

Observations by Nasa satellites over the past 33 years show that there has been a steady increase in leaves on plants and trees, which scientists think is because of the higher CO2 levels. Leaves absorb CO2 and combine it with water to produce food for the plants. The study was done by an international team of 32 scientists from 24 institutions in eight countries and has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Burning oil, gas, coal and wood for energy releases CO2 in to the air. The amount of CO2 in the air has been increasing since the industrial age and currently stands at a level not seen in at least half-a-million years. It is the chief culprit of climate change.

About 85% of the Earth’s ice-free lands is covered by vegetation. The area of all green leaves on Earth is equal to, on average, 32% of the Earth’s total surface area – oceans, lands and permanent ice sheets combined. “The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times the size of mainland USA (18 million km2), and has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system.

Every year, about one-half of the 10 billion tons of carbon emitted in to the atmosphere from human activities remains temporarily stored, in about equal parts, in the oceans and plants.

Does this mean that high emissions are beneficial for the earth and humanity? Although many contrarians have argued this, the study authors warn that this is not so.

The fallacy of the contrarian argument is two-fold. First, the many negative aspects of climate change, namely global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice, more severe tropical storms, etc. are not acknowledged. Second, studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising CO2 concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.

CO2 fertilization is only one, albeit a predominant, reason why the Earth is greening. The study also identified climate change, nitrogen fertilization and land management as other important reasons.

Environment

Earth Greening Up With More Vegetation

Despite wholesale deforestation in some areas, satellite observations reveal that the total amount of vegetation worldwide has increased by about 4 billion tons of carbon since 2003.

“The increase in vegetation primarily came from a lucky combination of environmental and economic factors and massive tree-planting projects in China,” said lead author Dr. Yi Liu of the University of New South Wales.

“Vegetation increased on the savannas in Australia, Africa and South America as a result of increasing rainfall, while in Russia and former Soviet republics we have seen the regrowth of forests on abandoned farmland.”

Liu pointed out that China was the only country that intentionally increased its vegetation by planting trees.

Despite the trend, the world’s greatest loss of plant life was observed on the edges of the Amazon forests, Sumatra and in Indonesian portions of Borneo.

Greening of savannas in Australia, South America and Africa helped reverse global forest loss in recent years.

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