New Negative Feedback Loop: Less Vegetation

A German group of researchers has published a paper in Nature titled “Climate extremes and the carbon cycle”, where it sits useless behind a paywall. Considering that German tax money pays for the salaries of the main authors, this state of affairs is most inappropriate. They should post it as a PDF on their website instead.

Fortunately, there is a short German summary available at Scinexx.

They have looked at the question: What effect have more frequent droughts and storms on vegetation?

As one might expect, drought and storms are bad news for forests and other forms of vegetation. There are more forest fires, and dryer environments means less vegetation.

That is of course exactly what one would expect.

What surprised me, though, was the amount of CO2 this negative feedback loop already causes right now. They say that 11 billion tons of CO2 less are taken out of the atmosphere because of these effects on vegetation. That’s about one third of human induced emissions.

I did not know about this particular problem, though it does make sense at first sight. What I knew already is that there will be plenty of other unfortunate effects I didn’t know about either in the future.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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