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Plants fix more Carbon as Climate Change Proceeds


A study published in Nature on April 5 calculates that plants on Earth have increased their carbon-fixing activity by about 31% (+/- 5%) since the Industrial Revolution, primarily due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and average temperatures in the last 200 years.  A story also appeared in the New York Times reviewing the research.  The study measured levels of a trace gas, carbonyl sulfide (CSO), that is produced by decaying organic matter and destroyed by photosynthesis, in Antarctic ice that has trapped tiny bubbles of air, for the last 54,000 years.  Unfortunately, the increase in activity is nowhere near enough to compensate for deforestation worldwide, which has destroyed over two-thirds of all forests that existed before humans entered history.   Fortunately, planting more trees will help the situation more as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise.

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