Increased Plant Growth Caused By Rising C02 Could Have a ‘Cooling Effect’

Increases in plant growth expected as a result of a projected doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could create a cooling effect that would help reduce future global warming, according to new NASA computer models. Specifically, researchers say that increased leaf growth that occurs when more carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere will likely increase evapotranspiration, which will have a cooling effect. According to the new model, this cooling effect would offset warming temperatures by 0.3 degrees C (0.5 degrees F) globally and 0.6 degrees C (1.1 degrees F) over land, compared to models in which the effects were not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, a researcher at the Goddard Space Flight Center and lead author of the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The cooling effect would not be strong enough to offset rising temperatures, Bounoua said, but would temper those increases.