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Article Released Wed-4th-September-2013 23:52 GMT
Contact: Nature Publishing Group Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Vegetation productivity as different as night and day

Changes in daytime and night-time warming have divergent effects on plant productivity, according to a report in this week’s Nature.

Northern Hemisphere
Copyright : NASA
Land surface temperatures have been warming faster during the night than during the day over the past five decades, but most global carbon cycle models don’t consider an asymmetrical vegetation response. Ignoring this process in ecosystem models might result in inaccurate carbon figure estimates.

Several lines of evidence suggest that climate warming will lead to an increase in vegetation growth in Northern Hemisphere ecosystems, which will enhance carbon storage. However, asymmetric diurnal warming should affect carbon turnover in plants because photosynthesis (carbon uptake) takes place only during the day, whereas respiration (carbon release) is continuous, and these two processes are sensitive to different temperature extremes.

By analysing 28 years of data Shilong Piao and co-workers uncover a diverse response of Northern Hemisphere vegetation growth and carbon dioxide levels to varying day and night temperatures. Daytime warming is associated with increasing productivity in wet and cool boreal regions, but with decreasing productivity in dry temperate regions. In contrast, night-time warming decreases vegetation growth in boreal regions, whereas effects are more complex in dry temperate regions.

Shilong Piao (Peking University, Beijing, China)
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Christopher Still (Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA) N&V author
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Keywords associated to this article: Nature; Global warming; Northern Hemisphere;
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