Researchers develop more accurate method to estimate climate change, according to a study published on June 5, 2018.
This study was conducted by the researchers at the University of New Hampshire. Plants help in removing carbon from the atmosphere when the process of photosynthesis takes place. Due to this, accurate photosynthesis estimates are crucial for scientists who examine ecosystem functions, carbon cycling, and feedbacks to the climate. The main challenge so far is the ground-based data that scientists had earlier tried to estimate, which is used in computer-based Earth systems models that focus on the carbon cycle. However, those calculations have large variations that is expected to affect the results.
The energy glow of plants known as solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) were being measured by the scientists for measuring the amount of carbon taken up by plants through photosynthesis. The light emitted through the leaf is found at the high end of the light spectrum. This study is the first to study on the link between ground-based GPP and satellite-observed SIF in different areas across the globe.
SIF data for plants in eight major biomes, or ecosystem types were collected by the researchers from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. It was observed that the plants took up more carbon from photosynthesis, and vice versa at places where SIF was present. A universal relationship across eight major ecosystem types is established in this research and shows that SIF can indeed serve as a proxy for more time-intensive calculations.
Jingfeng Xiao, a UNH research associate professor said, “This is a big step towards being able to solely rely on satellite measurements. Because it is a very simple model it could help reduce uncertainty in the data, lower computational costs and help better project climate change.”