Climate impact

A study by Oregon State University shows leaf temperature is a warning that climate change could compromise a forests ability to handle increased carbon.

A new study led by Oregon State University suggests leaves in forest canopies are not able to cool themselves below the surrounding air temperature, likely meaning trees’ ability to avoid damaging temperature increases, and to pull carbon from the atmosphere, will be compromised in a warmer, drier climate.

The findings by an international collaboration that included researchers from multiple universities and government agencies contrast with a prevailing theory in the scientific community that canopy leaves can keep their temperature within an optimal range for photosynthesis – the process through which green plants make their food from sunlight and carbon dioxide.

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