Whether rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will cause forests to grow faster and store more carbon is an open question and one that scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), together with partners at the University of Basel, have been investigating for several years.
In a mature forest just outside Basel, researchers developed a new system to distribute CO2 to the treetops. The use of stable isotopes for studying the carbon balance under elevated CO2 is a speciality of PSI. With these tools the PSI researchers determined the amount of carbon(C) that was assimilated by the tree crowns and the proportions of how much C was invested in leaves, wood, roots and soil, or lost by respiration.
The data, published in the latest issue of Science, (Vol. 309/Nr. 5739) evidences that the optimistic prediction of the CO2 storage capacity of forests probably needs to be qualified. Although the trees in the study took up more carbon in a CO2 rich atmosphere, there was no sustainable increase in biomass carbon. The data suggests that they instead “pump” more carbon through their body.
Juanita Schlaepfer-Miller | alfa
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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...
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.
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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,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
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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...
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