Global warming is spurring so much plant growth that some parts of Earth are starting to cool, according to study released Thursday by Ghent University.
The study concluded that rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing an increase in plant life, which generally has a moderate cooling impact on the local climate.
In warm areas, CO2 emissions increase the amount of leaf cover, leading to localized cooling. Cooler places see the opposite, with temperatures rising slightly since less sunlight is being reflected back from the surface from increased leaf coverage.
In total, researchers say that these effects have mitigated global warming by roughly 14 percent.
“We show that the increasing trend in [leaf area index] contributed to the warming of boreal zones through a reduction of surface albedo, and to an evaporation-driven cooling in arid regions,” reads the study’s abstract. “We show that the increasing trend in LAI contributed to the warming of boreal zones through a reduction of surface albedo, and to an evaporation-driven cooling in arid regions.”
The scientists examined satellite data from 1982 to 2011 and assigned an LAI, or how much of the surface was covered by vegetation, to various regions of the planet. Scientists found that roughly 60 percent of...Read More HERE