Study sees climate upside in greening arid regions

Study sees climate upside in greening arid regions

June 4, 2013

"An upside to climate change? The issue has been blamed for many problems, including more acidic oceans and rising pollen counts, but a study released Friday suggests a benefit: Arid regions are getting greener.

Satellite data since the early 1980s have shown a flourishing of foliage worldwide, and scientists have suspected this change may be due partly to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas emitted by the burning of fossil fuels..

Turns out, they were right because of CO2's "fertilization effect," according to a team of scientists led by Randall Donohue of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia.

Their mathematical model predicted a foliage increase of 5% to 10%, based on the 14% hike in atmospheric CO2 from 1982 to 2010, for the regions they studied: the southwestern corner of North America, Australia's outback, the Middle East and some parts of Africa."

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