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Plant growth is increasingly suffering from climate extremes
August 5, 2021

Changes in the impact of drought events on the carbon cycle between the 2000 – 2016 and 1982 – 1998 periods. The presented map shows the difference in negative extremes of CO2 fixation through plants via photosynthesis (Delta GPP) attributed to drought events between the two periods. A reduced CO2 uptake is shown in red. (Source: Nature Climate Change/University of Augsburg)
Climate extremes such as droughts and heat waves lead to lower plant growth. This means that less CO2 is sequestered from the atmosphere. An international study led by the University of Augsburg and including Markus Reichstein from MPI-BGC shows that plant growth is especially reduced in the northern latitudes. This was concluded based on the fact that negative extremes in plant growth during the period 2000-2016 had increased by 10.6 percent when compared to the period 1982-1998. The results further indicate that especially grass and agricultural land covers are becoming increasingly susceptible to particularly warm droughts and that this negatively affects CO2 uptake by plants and agricultural outputs.

David Gampe, Jakob Zscheischler, Markus Reichstein, Michael O’Sullivan, William K. Smith, Stephen Sitch and Wolfgang Buermann:
Increasing impact of warm droughts on northern ecosystem productivity over recent decades
Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01112-8

Scientific contact at MPI-BGC:
Prof. Dr. Markus Reichstein
Phone: +49 (0)3641 57 - 6200
Fax: +49 (0)3641 57 - 7200

Link to the publication
Webpage Markus Reichstein
Link to the press release of University Augsburg

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