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Researchers have established that extreme heat can alter the atmospheric chemistry unfavourably for plants, and certainly reduce crop yields. Image: Shutterstock
Plants’ heat response means fiercer heatwaves
Asia faces more extreme heat by mid-century as some plant species react unexpectedly to rising average temperatures, new research shows.
Tomorrow’s heat waves could be even hotter than climate scientists have so far predicted. Maximum temperatures across the Asian continent from Europe to China could be 3°C to 5°C higher than previous estimates – because the forests and grasslands will respond in a different way.
Australian scientists report in the journal Scientific Reports that they looked at the forecasts made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under the notorious “business-as-usual” scenario, in which the world’s nations go on burning ever more fossil fuels, to release ever more greenhouse gases.
The average global temperatures will rise steadily – but this rise will be accompanied by ever greater and more frequent extremes of heat.
But then Jatin Kala of Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, and colleagues factored in the responses of the plants to rising temperatures.
They looked at data from 314 species of plant from 54 research field sites. In particular, they investigated stomatas, tiny pores on the leaves through which plants absorb carbon dioxide and shed water to the atmosphere.
Read the full story: Eco Business