Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plants’ role in global warming re-examined in ORNL Science paper

03.05.2006


Estimates of increased plant respiration in response to higher global temperatures may be somewhat overstated as they have not taken into account plants’ ability to adjust to changing conditions, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.



In a Perspectives paper published April 28 by Science, a team led by Tony King cites ORNL findings suggesting that about 9 percent more carbon will be stored in plants and soil with the acclimation of plants included in the model. While this amount is relatively small compared to different climate-carbon simulations performed over the years, the authors note that this acclimation phenomenon should not be ignored.

"This is carbon that might otherwise be released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and could further influence future climate change," said King, a researcher in ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division. "Our ability to accurately predict global change over the next several decades depends upon having a thorough understanding of multiple interacting factors, including plant respiration.


"The fact is that plants adapt to higher temperatures and their levels of respiration adjust downward."

While some previous climate-carbon simulations have included differentiation among vegetation types, none have incorporated an explicit time-dependent acclimation of plant respiration to increasing temperatures. ORNL researchers also looked at the influence of temperature acclimation at both the local ecosystem and global scales.

ORNL’s study looked at the period from 1930 to 2100, with and without acclimation of leaf respiration.

"All other things being equal, as they are in our simulations, more carbon stored in plants and soils corresponds to less carbon released to the atmosphere in response to climate change, and a weaker positive feedback between carbon and climate and a weaker amplification of additional warming," the authors write.

The paper concludes by saying, "There is also a need to better understand the control of respiration itself. The development, testing and adoption of a mechanistic and bio-chemical model of plant respiration are needed. To more reliably project plant respiration and climate-carbon feedbacks in a future climate, this modeling must incorporate response to temperature, including acclimation, at time scales from minutes to years."

On a global scale, plants release about 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year as they carry out their life functions.

Other authors of the Perspectives piece were Carla Gunderson, Wilfred "Mac" Post, David Weston and Stan Wullschleger of the Environmental Sciences Division.

The research was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science/Biological and Environmental Research. UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.

Ron Walli | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>