Feeds

Plants will make greenhouse effect flooding worse

Drowned by lazy daisies

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.