By increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a study found that plants require less water to grow. However, researchers at Australian National University say the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels could partially offset some of the negative effects of climate change. With areas with annual rainfall below 400 millimeters benefiting most.
Interesting findings given carbon dioxide concentrations recently exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in three million years.
These studies could allow for a rethink of the way climate change affects agriculture. Dr Mark Howden from the CSIRO is hesitant as the findings by the ANU have their limitations.
In order for plants to make use of the additional CO2 they require more of other key nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, without them they can’t grow faster or take advantage of the additional CO2.
In agricultural production farmers have the ability more nutrients but in the natural environment they are nutrient limited.
In Dr Howden’s opinion the impact extreme weather and higher temperatures on climate change are likely to offset any benefits from increased CO2.
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