Feeds

Plants will make greenhouse effect flooding worse

Drowned by lazy daisies

Remote control for virtualized desktops

New data published by the Met Office's Hadley research centre suggests that flooding will be an even bigger problem than anticipated for our warming planet. And it is plants that are to blame.

According to research, published in the journal Nature, plants tend to absorb and so expire less water from the soil when they grow in an atmosphere with high levels of CO2. This means the ground will become saturated, increasing the amount of water running off into rivers, making flooding more likely.

"It's a double-edged sword," said Dr Richard Betts, climate impact scientist at Hadley, and lead author of the study. "It means that increases in drought due to climate change could be less severe as plants lose less water. On the other hand, if the land is saturated more often, you might expect that intense rainfall events are more likely to cause flooding."

Plants matter to climatologists because of their place in the carbon cycle: through tiny pores on their leaves, known as stomata, they pull carbon from the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide, and turn it into leaves and stalks and so on, drawing water in through their roots. Any excess water is expelled through these same pores, but in a CO2 rich atmosphere, the stomata close up slightly, making them less efficient evaporators.

Dr. Bets also notes that this work means it is not possible to draw like-for-like comparisons between CO2 and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, because of the additional direct impact carbon has on plants. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.