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  • Grasslands acclimatise to climate change

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Until now, climate change models have assumed that soil microbes accelerate global warming by releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). But new research, published in this week’s Nature, shows that plants and bacteria in a North American prairie actually cut their production of CO2as they ‘acclimatise’ to rising heat.

This conclusion challenges previous assumptions that rising temperatures increase the rate of bacterial respiration, which currently contributes up to 100 billion metric tonnes of carbon a year to global climate emissions. According to the researchers, the results therefore raise questions about the accuracy of existing climate models, and suggest that current predictions may over-estimate the magnitude of future global warming.

Link to full Nature article

Reference: Nature, 413 622 (2001)
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