Study: plants are globally getting more efficient thanks to rising carbon dioxide

Watts Up With That?

Rising CO2 leading to changes in land plant photosynthesis
Suggests that plants have achieved an optimum response to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere

From the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – SAN DIEGO

Researchers led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have determined that major changes in plant behavior have occurred over the past 40 years, using measurements of subtle changes in the carbon dioxide (CO2) currently found in the atmosphere.

The two main isotopes, or atomic forms, of carbon are carbon-12 (12C) and carbon-13 (13C). As CO2 has risen since the late 19th century, the ratio of 13C to 12C in atmospheric CO2 has decreased. That’s in part because the CO2 produced by the combustion of fossil fuels has a low 13C/12C ratio. There are other factors in nature as well, however, that have influenced the rate of decrease in the isotopic ratio. The…

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