Dramatic rise in plant growth in world’s deserts could be down to rising C02 levels
- Researchers studied satellite images between 1982 and 2010
- Regions which have seen a rise in plant growth include Africa, the Middle East and the Australian outback
- Carbon dioxide acts as an insulator and causes temperatures to rise but it also vital for plant growth
Scientists believe a rise in carbon dioxide levels have increased the amount of vegetation in some parts of the world.
After studying satellite images taken between 1982 and 2010, researchers found there has been a dramatic rise in plant growth in the world’s most driest regions including parts of Africa, North America, the Middle East and the Australian outback.
The research was carried out by Randall Donohue and his team at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia.
According to new research there has been a dramatic rise in plant growth in the world’s driest regions including the Australian outback (pictured)
Between 1982 and 2010, C02 levels in the atmosphere rose by 14 per cent.
But in the same period foliage increased by 11 per cent in these regions.
Carbon dioxide acts as an insulator and causes temperatures to rise but it also vital for plant growth.
Mr Donohue told The Sunday Times: ‘Satellites are very good at detecting changes in total leaf cover and it is in warm, dry environments that the C02 effect is expected to most influence that.
A NASA thermal satellite image showing how temperatures have increased over the Arctic. In the past century, the Earth’s temperature has risen by 6C
‘Lots of papers have shown an average increase in vegetation across the globe and there is a lot of speculation about what is causing that’.
Photosynthesis uses energy from sunlight to mix with CO2 with water to grow.
A leaf can extract more carbon from the air during photosynthesis or lose water. or do both, when there are higher levels of C02.
Last month, C02 concentration in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million.
There has been a 40 per cent increase in C02 levels in the atmosphere since man began burning fossil fuels like coal and oil.
In the past century, the Earth’s temperature has risen by 6C.
However, despite the growth in vegetation, the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions far outweigh the benefits and if CO2 levels continue to rise parts of the Earth will become inhabitable.