Heat waves may increase by 3 to 5 degrees warmer compared to the previous estimation by mid-century due to the reaction of plants to the increased carbon dioxide levels. Intense heat may be experienced in the future across Northern Eurasia, according to the study conducted by Australian researchers.
Increase in greenhouse gases may be a cause of further heating in the atmosphere in terms of duration, intensity and frequency. Due to this increase, the plant's tiny pores found on its leaves called stomata will not open much to take in carbon dioxide in turn for a water vapor.
"There's less water vapor being lost so you have a net warming effect," said Dr. Jatin Kala of Murdoch University. The plants releasing lesser water vapor causes more intense heat waves.
The study parameter explored 314 plant species from 56 different field sites. The stomata of each plant were subjected to the newly implemented stomatal scheme derived from optimal stomatal theory.
From the previous climate models, it only presented plants trading water for carbon dioxide, without considering the different plant types and other variations. With these, they have not accounted that they have overestimated the capacity of lost water in the atmosphere, especially in some regions.
"We often underestimate the role of vegetation in extreme temperature events as it has not been included in enough detail in climate models up until this point," Dr. Kala added.
Tundra, needleleaf and agricultural fields where crops are grown are believed to have the highest temperature change.
With the use of the climate model, the study is unique to use its best resources in doing their observations to differentiate strategies of plant's water use.
"These world-first results will have significant impact on the development of climate models around the world," said Professor Andy Pitman, one of the authors of the study and the director of Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science at University of New South Wales.
Professor Belinda Medlyn, co-author and theoretical biologist of Western Sydney University, added that the study was made intended only to learn how plants work and they were not expecting results that have vital implications on heatwaves in the atmosphere.
The study was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
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