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.
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
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