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How Fast Can Plants Absorb Our Carbon Emissions? UC Merced Professor Develops New Photosynthesis Measurement Method

September 23, 2008
We count on vegetation to absorb a large portion of the carbon dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, helping mitigate climate change through photosynthesis. But what happens if the temperature warms enough to change that process? Heat, drought or a shift from snowfall to rainfall caused by climate warming may affect the amount of CO2 absorbed through photosynthesis by vegetation, but how much? "Our inability to accurately measure and forecast photosynthesis has been responsible for a big part of the uncertainty in our climate change forecasting so far," said Professor Elliott Campbell of the University of California, Merced.