Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Warmer Climate Could Stifle Carbon Uptake by Trees

08.01.2010
Contrary to conventional belief, as the climate warms and growing seasons lengthen subalpine forests are likely to soak up less carbon dioxide, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

As a result, more of the greenhouse gas will be left to concentrate in the atmosphere.

"Our findings contradict studies of other ecosystems that conclude longer growing seasons actually increase plant carbon uptake," said Jia Hu, who conducted the research as a graduate student in CU-Boulder's ecology and evolutionary biology department in conjunction with the university's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.

The study will be published in the February edition of the journal Global Change Biology.

Working with ecology and evolutionary biology professor and CIRES Fellow Russell Monson, Hu found that while smaller spring snowpack tended to advance the onset of spring and extend the growing season, it also reduced the amount of water available to forests later in the summer and fall. The water-stressed trees were then less effective in converting CO2 into biomass. Summer rains were unable to make up the difference, Hu said.

"Snow is much more effective than rain in delivering water to these forests," said Monson. "If a warmer climate brings more rain, this won't offset the carbon uptake potential being lost due to declining snowpacks."

Drier trees also are more susceptible to beetle infestations and wildfires, Monson said.

The researchers found that even as late in the season as September and October, 60 percent of the water in stems and needles collected from subalpine trees along Colorado's Front Range could be traced back to spring snowmelt. They were able to distinguish between spring snow and summer rain in plant matter by analyzing slight variations in hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water molecules.

The results suggest subalpine trees like lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and Englemann spruce depend largely on snowmelt, not just at the beginning of the summer, but throughout the growing season, according to the researchers.

"As snowmelt in these high-elevation forests is predicted to decline, the rate of carbon uptake will likely follow suit," said Hu.

Subalpine forests currently make up an estimated 70 percent of the western United States' carbon sink, or storage area. Their geographic range includes much of the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada and high-elevation areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Study co-authors included David Moore of King's College London and Sean Burns of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and CU-Boulder.

CIRES is a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For more information about CIRES visit cires.colorado.edu.

Contact

Jia Hu, 303-492-5796
Jia.Hu@colorado.edu
Russell Monson, 303-492-6319
Monsonr@colorado.edu
Morgan Heim, 303-492-6289
morgan.heim@cires.colorado.edu

Jia Hu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.colorado.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>