A new study says trees are absorbing 3.4 percent less carbon than has been assumed, including in models used to prepare the IPCC reports.
Trees may not be the planetary saviors people have been counting on in a warming climate.
A new study shows that while trees certainly help counteract rising temperatures, they are absorbing 3.4 percent less carbon than had been assumed in models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. More CO2 in the atmosphere means more warming.
According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it all comes down to how the trees react to sunlight.
One of the basic assumptions has been that warmer conditions created by climbing levels of the greenhouse gas CO2 would extend the growing period. The longer season would, theoretically, allow trees to absorb more carbon through photosynthesis.