Our Warming World

You may have been told by climate denialists that rising temperatures would be good for plants and help them grow better.

This is, of course, wrong.

Large-scale droughts have wiped out plants that would have otherwise absorbed an amount of carbon equivalent to Britain’s annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists measure the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide absorbed by plants and turned into biomass as a quantity known as the net primary production. NPP increased from 1982 to 1999 as temperatures rose and there was more solar radiation.

But the period from 2000 to 2009 reverses that trend – surprising some scientists.

This had actually been suspected for a while, it being kind of inevitable due to the effects of unexpected heat stress and weird precipitation patterns. While some extra warmth can help plants, it also makes them perspire more. When plants perspire, they aren’t doing much in the way of turning carbon gases into carbon solids.

Plants are a good illustration in that way of why global warming is such a big deal, because of how they thrive in very narrow ranges of conditions. They need some nitrogen, but not too much. Some phosphorus, but not too much. Some water, but not too much. Some heat, but not too much. Humans have a wider range of tolerable conditions, but can’t escape our reliance on plants with a very narrow set of tolerances, indeed.

A planet that’s a bad habitat for plants is one where there isn’t as much for people to eat. That will affect us even if there no more countries get flooded out.

Though luckily, new studies on my personal favorite geoengineering fix, biochar production, show that it could tuck away a lot of carbon and improve plant growth without the use of chemicals like this. Anyway, that’s what I remind myself to ward off the despair.

3 thoughts on “Our Warming World

  1. To comment for current” our warming World “I would like to give the word for organic agriculture and plant production with animal Husbandry in
    Organic agriculture means a process of developing a viable and sustainable agro-ecosystem.The time between the start of organic management the crop and animal husbandry .the whole farm, including livestock, should be converted according to these standards over a period of time.Landscape should contribute beneficially to the ecosystem.Areas which should be managed carefully and linked to facilitate biodiversity.Waterways,pools,springs,ditches,wetlands and swamps and other water rich areas which r not used for intensive agriculture or aqua production.
    Management techniques in animal husbandry should be governed by the physiological and ethological needs of farm animals in question.Traditional agriculture methods fulfils the organic agriculture, and long term fertility of soils wth materials and substances which can be reused or recycled, either on the farm or elsewhere.This will produce food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantities.

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