Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant Growth Surges After Global Temperature Spikes, Scientists Report

Date:
October 31, 1997
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
El Nino events or volcanic eruptions can boost or depress global temperatures within months, but their strongest impacts on the earth's biosphere may not occur until one to three years later, according to a paper published in the October 31st issue of Science.

Study Highlights Importance of Regional Analyses

     El Nino events or volcanic eruptions can boost or depressglobal temperatures within months, but their strongest impacts onthe earth's biosphere may not occur until one to three yearslater, according to a paper published in the October 31st issueof Science.

     Regional analyses show that a global warm spell's initialboost in plant activity is clustered in polar and temperateareas.  On the other hand, heat-stressed tropical and semiaridregions may show an initial drop in plant production.

     The results, reported by scientists affiliated with theNational Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center forAtmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, lend credenceto the notion that biological effects of global change can varysubstantially across the globe.

     According to NCAR's David Schimel, one of the paper'sauthors, the results highlight the power of new data sets onglobal change, as well as the usefulness of computer models thatconnect the atmosphere and biosphere.

     "We were looking specifically for delayed ecosystemresponses in this study because they had been predicted by themodels," Schimel notes.

     The global temperature record revealed several multiyearpatterns, including warming associated with El Nino events in the1980s.  These patterns were correlated globally with carbondioxide levels and regionally with vegetation growth.  Globalcarbon dioxide levels, which are steadily rising due to humanactivities, tended to rise more quickly over the first few monthsafter a global temperature peak.  The carbon dioxide levels roseat a slower pace during the one-to-three-year period after thetemperature peak, followed by another gradual acceleration.

     The authors studied the temperature-vegetation relationshipby region at data points separated by one degree latitude andlongitude (roughly 85 by 110 kilometers, or 50 by 70 miles).  Atthe peak of a warm period, plant growth tended to increase inpolar and temperate regions and decrease at lower latitudes,including tropical rainforests and drier savanna/grasslandregimes.  "This contrast suggests that . . . temperature may havedirect negative impacts on plant growth, or may increase waterstress in semiarid ecosystems," the authors note.

     However, in the one-to-three-year period after a temperaturepeak, the patterns appear to reverse:  plant growth is enhancedin the warmer and drier regions and limited at higher latitudes.Thus, low-latitude plant growth appears to be driving theenhanced uptake of carbon dioxide during this period.

     The paper highlights the importance of regional analyses ofclimate change to detect areas where effects may run counter to aglobal average.  This is the first data-based study to considerregionally-specific ecosystem responses on a global scale, saysSchimel.  The results show that ecosystems are sensitive totemperature perturbations.

     Co-authors of the paper include Schimel, and Rob Braswell,Ernst Linder and Berrien Moore, of the University of NewHampshire (UNH).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Plant Growth Surges After Global Temperature Spikes, Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971031072234.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1997, October 31). Plant Growth Surges After Global Temperature Spikes, Scientists Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971031072234.htm
National Science Foundation. "Plant Growth Surges After Global Temperature Spikes, Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971031072234.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins