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Monday, May 6, 2019

The Recent CO2 Increase Has Had An Even Greater Earth-Greening Impact Than Previously Thought

The Earth has been 
rapidly 'greening' 
in recent decades.

In a new study published 
in Nature Communications, 
Max Planck Institute 
for Meteorology’s 
Alexander J. Winkler ,
and colleagues, 
find that the 120 ppm increase 
in CO2 concentration since 1850 
“has resulted in enhanced GPP 
[Gross Primary Productivity, 
photosynthesis] due to its [CO2’s] 
radiative and physiological effects.”

This new study finds models 
have significantly underestimated 
the actual greening effect 
of rising CO2 levels.

Updating trends in satellite-observed 
GPP enhancement, Winkler et al. (2019) 
cite a statistically significant 52% greening 
trend during 1981-2016, outpacing the 
observed changes in browning (12%) 
by more than a factor of four.

CO2 fertilization may explain 
70% of the trend 

Carbon dioxide (CO2), 
an essential ingredient 
in plants’ food-making 
processes (photosynthesis), 
has been unscientifically cast 
as an atmospheric pollutant.

Many scientists, who apparently 
lack an anti-CO2 political agenda, 
write glowingly about the 
biosphere-enriching effects 
of rising CO2 concentrations.

Elevated CO2 is considered 
to be the primary driver 
of the observed global-scale 
greening in recent decades, 
especially in arid regions 
where soil water 
is in limited supply 

Satellite observations indicate 
that between 25 to 50% of the globe’s 
vegetated regions are greener today 
than in the 1980s, whereas less than 5% 
have sustained a browning trend 
(Zhu et al., 2016).

Models underestimate 
the greening effects 
of elevated CO2 by 60%.

The key finding of their study,
is that Earth system models 
have been categorically 
underestimating CO2’s 
critical role in enhancing GPP.

The physiological effects 
of elevated CO2 in invigorating 
photosynthesis processes 
( aka 'greening' ) was found to be 
60% higher than previous estimates, 
leading the authors to conclude:

“Our central finding is, 
the effect of ambient 
CO2 concentrations 
on terrestrial photosynthesis 
is larger than previously thought.”

Earth’s greening trends 
are expected to intensify 
as CO2 concentrations 
continue rising.

project a ~35% increase
in global GPP (greening) 
in the coming century, 
or as CO2 levels reach 
double (to 560 ppm)
estimated pre-industrial age 
CO2 levels, believed to be 
around 280 ppm.