Trees are winning climate change: @CarlZimmer @NYTImes

Jul 02, 03:53 AM


(Photo: Лісоруби біля Беллінгему, Вашингтон, 1910

невідомий - from a c. 1910 postcard

Logging scene, near Bellingham, WA; from a c. 1910 postcard published by Sprouse & Son, Importers & Publishers, Tacoma, Washington.)

Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Trees are winning climate change:  @CarlZimmer @NYTImes®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=

"...Trees and other plants in these enclosures have indeed grown faster with more carbon dioxide. But it has been hard to extend these results to the planet as a whole. Scientists found that plants responded differently to carbon dioxide in different parts of the world. The logistical challenge of these experiments has mostly limited them to Europe and the United States, leaving huge swaths of forests in the tropics and the far north little studied.

More recently, scientists have turned to satellites to get clues to what plants have been doing. They have measured how green the land is, and from that data they have estimated the area covered by leaves.

But this method has its shortcomings, too. Satellites cannot see leaves hiding under clouds, for example. And the size of leaves serves as only a rough guide to a plant’s growth. If a plant builds bigger roots, that growth will be hidden underground.

In the mid-2000s, atmospheric scientists discovered a powerful new way to measure plant growth: by studying an unimaginably rare molecule called carbonyl sulfide.

Carbonyl sulfide — a molecule made of a carbon atom, a sulfur atom and an oxygen atom — is present only in a few hundred parts per trillion in the atmosphere. That is about a million times lower than the concentration of carbon dioxide. Decaying organic matter in the ocean produces carbonyl sulfide, a gas that then floats into the atmosphere...."