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 NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California
24.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>