Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate models need deeper roots, scientists say

07.12.2005


By soaking up moisture with their roots and later releasing it from their leaves, plants play an active role in regulating the climate. In fact, in vegetated ecosystems, plants are the primary channels that connect the soil to the atmosphere, with plant roots controlling the below-ground dynamics.



"Most climate models assume that roots are shallow -- usually within 6 feet of the surface -- and that only the soil moisture near the surface can significantly impact the climate," said Praveen Kumar, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Our research shows that it is not just the near surface, but also the deep reservoir of soil moisture that affect terrestrial heat and moisture processes in land-atmosphere interaction."

A better understanding of this interaction, Kumar said, could lead to more accurate climate models and better predictability.


Using a land surface model, Kumar and graduate student Geremew Amenu are assessing the effects of deep roots on soil moisture and temperature redistribution. Three sites with different vegetation, soil and climate characteristics are being studied: the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, the Edwards Plateau in Texas and the Southern Piedmont in Georgia. Soil depths of up to 30 feet are being investigated.

There are two primary mechanisms by which deep-layer moisture affects the soil surface, Kumar said. First, its temporal variability sets the lower boundary for the transfer of moisture and heat from the surface. And second, this temporal variability influences the uptake of moisture by the plant roots, resulting in the variability of the transpiration and therefore the entire energy balance.

"Our initial results suggest that this second mechanism is predominant, indicating that accurate specification of rooting depth in climate models will play a crucial role in improving predictability," Kumar said.

Through the process of transpiration, plants remove heat from their immediate environment. The evaporated moisture is carried elsewhere, eventually to fall as precipitation, releasing heat in the process. Through this ongoing energy cycle, plants can influence the climate.

"The variation of soil moisture in the deeper layers is a long term variation that we believe will be highly correlated with long term variations produced by climate models," Kumar said. "If we are right, we will have better predictability of climate over a longer period of time, to the extent that plants impact the climate system."

Kumar and Amenu will present the latest results of their modeling efforts, and the implications for climate modeling, at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Dec. 5-9. Their work was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>