Earth Is Getting Greener, Thanks To CO2 Emissions

New research suggests that the "green" part of "greenhouse effect" is really working. While having more plants may sound good, it's still not clear how or whether desert areas will be affected.

What's the Latest Development?


Although recent satellite images show visual proof of the Earth's getting greener, the exact cause of that increase hasn't been pinned down. Randall Donohue of Australia's CSIRO research institute studied vegetation growth at the edges of deserts in several continents and found the the amount per unit of rainfall rose 11 percent between 1982 and 2010, mirroring the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. In the absence of rainfall changes, Donohue says that this is evidence of a "CO2 fertilization effect" that may be the reason for the increase in vegetation.

What's the Big Idea?

The idea of a greener world coming as a result of climate change may sound like a positive, and if Donohue's research is correct, it may be the case that deserts won't grow and get drier as has been predicted by experts. However, another researcher, Beth Newingham of the University of Idaho-Moscow, has recently published her findings involving a 10-year experiment with a greenhouse set up in the Mojave Desert. When extra CO2 was pumped in, she didn't see a corresponding increase in vegetation. She says, "You cannot assume that all these deserts respond the same. Enough water needs to be present for the plants to respond at all."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at New Scientist

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less