New York: Carbon released by plant respiration may be around 30 per cent higher than previously predicted, a new study claims.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that as the mean global temperature increases, respiration will increase significantly.
Such increases may lower the future ability of global vegetation to offset carbon dioxide emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.
“Plants both capture carbon dioxide and then release it by respiration. Changes to either of these processes in response to climate change have profound implications for how much ecosystems soak up carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels,” said lead author Chris Huntingford of Britain’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
“In fact, this study provides the most up-to-date accounting of respiratory carbon releases from plants in terrestrial systems,” Peter Reich, Professor at University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in the US, said.
The findings are based on the comprehensive GlobResp database, which is comprised of more than 10,000 measurements of carbon dioxide plant respiration from plant species around the globe.
Merging this data with existing computer models of global land carbon cycling showed plant respiration has been a potentially underestimated source of carbon dioxide release.
“Once we incorporate this data into state-of-the-art carbon cycling models, we are much closer to being able to accurately model carbon cycle feedbacks for climates across the globe,” Reich said.