AN UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCE OF A CHANGING CLIMATE: “The influence of plants has been overlooked before. This study highlights the vegetation impacts on Arctic warming under an elevated CO2 world,” said study co-author Jin-Soo Kim, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh
Note to Reader:
Chelsea Harvey covers climate science for Climatewire. She tracks the big questions being asked by researchers and explains what’s known, and what needs to be, about global temperatures. Chelsea began writing about climate science in 2014. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Popular Science, Men’s Journal and others.
Because of Rising CO2, Trees Might Be Warming the Arctic
“The Arctic is one of the fastest-warming places on the planet —and scientists still aren’t completely sure why,” wrote Chelsea Harvey in an article written for E&E News and re-published by Scientific American. “Now, scientists think they may have discovered an additional piece of the puzzle. Plants, it turns out, may have an unexpected influence on global warming.”
“The influence of plants has been overlooked before,” she quoted study co-author Jin-Soo Kim, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh. “This study highlights the vegetation impacts on Arctic warming under [an] elevated CO2 world.”
ABSTRACT: “The intensification of Arctic warming as a result of CO2 physiological forcing”
“Stomatal closure is one of the main physiological responses to increasing CO2 concentration,which leads to a reduction in plant water loss. This response has the potential to trigger changes in the climate system by regulating surface energy budgets—a phenomenon known as CO2 physiological forcing. However, its remote impacts on the Arctic climate system are unclear,” wrote Jin-Soo Kim and his two co-authors in an article published in Nature Communications.
“Here we show that vegetation at high latitudes enhances the Arctic amplification via remote and time-delayed physiological forcing processes. Surface warming occurs at mid-to high latitudes due to the physiological acclimation-induced reduction in evaporative cooling and resultant increase in sensible heat flux.
“This excessive surface heat energy is transported to the Arctic ocean and contributes to the sea ice loss, thereby enhancing Arctic warming. The surface warming in the Arctic is further amplified by local feedbacks, and consequently the contribution of physiological effects to Arctic warming represents about 10% of radiative forcing effects.
“Considering the physiological effects of CO2 might be helpful for understanding the inter-model diversity in future climate change,” conclude the authors.
To Learn More:
To read the complete article by Chelsea Harvey, download a copy of Because of Rising CO2, Trees Might Be Warming the Arctic.
After that, download and read the original paper co-authored by Jin-Soo Kim: The intensification of Arctic warming as a result of CO2 physiological forcing