Claim: The greening of the earth is approaching its limit

A new study published in Science reveals that the fertilizing effect of excess CO2 on vegetation is decreasing worldwide

SPANISH NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (CSIC)

Research News

When plants absorb this gas to grow, they remove it from the atmosphere and it is sequestered in their branches, trunk or roots. An article published today in Science shows that this fertilizing effect of CO2 is decreasing worldwide, according to the text co-directed by Professor Josep Peñuelas of the CSIC at CREAF and Professor Yongguan Zhang of the University of Nanjin, with the participation of CREAF researchers Jordi Sardans and Marcos Fernández. The study, carried out by an international team, concludes that the reduction has reached 50% progressively since 1982 due basically to two key factors: the availability of water and nutrients. “There is no mystery about the formula, plants need CO2, water and nutrients in order to grow. However much the CO2 increases, if the nutrients and water do not increase in parallel, the plants will not be able to take advantage of the increase in this gas”, explains Professor Josep Peñuelas. In fact, three years ago Prof. Peñuelas already warned in an article in Nature Ecology and Evolution that the fertilising effect of CO2 would not last forever, that plants cannot grow indefinitely, because there are other factors that limit them.

If the fertilizing capacity of CO2 decreases, there will be strong consequences on the carbon cycle and therefore on the climate. Forests have received a veritable CO2 bonus for decades, which has allowed them to sequester tons of carbon dioxide that enabled them to do more photosynthesis and grow more. In fact, this increased sequestration has managed to reduce the CO2 accumulated in the air, but now it is over. “These unprecedented results indicate that the absorption of carbon by vegetation is beginning to become saturated. This has very important climate implications that must be taken into account in possible climate change mitigation strategies and policies at the global level. Nature’s capacity to sequester carbon is decreasing and with it society’s dependence on future strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions is increasing”, warns Josep Peñuelas.

The study published in Science has been carried out using satellite, atmospheric, ecosystem and modelling information. It highlights the use of sensors that use near-infrared and fluorescence and are thus capable of measuring vegetation growth activity.

Less water and nutrients

According to the results, the lack of water and nutrients are the two factors that reduce the capacity of CO2 to improve plant growth. To reach this conclusion, the team based itself on data obtained from hundreds of forests studied over the last 40 years. “These data show that concentrations of essential nutrients in the leaves, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, have also progressively decreased since 1990,” explains researcher Songhan Wang, the first author of the article.

The team has also found that water availability and temporal changes in water supply play a significant role in this phenomenon. “We have found that plants slow down their growth, not only in times of drought, but also when there are changes in the seasonality of rainfall, which is increasingly happening with climate change,” explains researcher Yongguan Zhang.

###

Reference article:

Wang S, Zhang YG, Ju W, Chen, J, Ciais P, Cescatti A, Sardans J, Janssens IA, Sardans, J, Fernández-Martínez, M, … Penuelas J (2020). Recent global decline of CO2 fertilization effects on vegetation photosynthesis. Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.abb7772

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Bill Powers
December 11, 2020 10:05 am

More Hobgoblins to menace the public school graduates with. And I wonder what, pray tell, the Central Authoritarian Government will be able to do to save us from this Hobgoblin?

John Tillman
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 11, 2020 1:25 pm

CSIC abbreviates “Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas”, which translates literally as “High Council of Scientific Researches”.

It was created in 1939 under Franco to “restore the classical and Christian unity of the sciences destroyed in the 18th century”. Now it’s a local branch of the Church of CACA.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 3:33 pm

CREAF is the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (Centro de Investigación Ecológica y Aplicaciones Forestales).

Robertvd
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 12, 2020 2:10 am

Remember that socialists are in control in Spain.

These people will wright whatever to maintain their high paying job.

Robertvd
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 12, 2020 2:25 am

If what these ‘scientists’ say would be true, plant life would have extinct a long long long time ago.

Reply to  Robertvd
December 13, 2020 9:56 am

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

History tells us we are far, far from any limits.

Edward Sager
December 11, 2020 10:12 am

So what. Carbon dioxide does not drive climate; in fact, it, and methane, are irrelevant compared to water vapor. Just Google Methane: the Irrelevant Greenhouse Gas.

John Tillman
December 11, 2020 10:13 am

Yet the models rely on more H2O in the air to achieve ECSs of 3.0 degrees C per doubling of CO2 or higher. Less rain in some places despite more water vapor? What gives?

The study apparently ignores the fact that more plant food in the air means that vegetation need leave its stomata open for less time to get the CO2 needed to make sugar.

The firther greening of the Earth shouldn’t stop until CO2 levels reach about three times as rich as now, ie the 1000 to 1300ppm kept by commercial greenhouses. Besides which, if N, P or any other element limit crop growth, fertilizer and/or N-fixing organiisms can be applied, to include to tree farms.

David A
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 2:00 pm

Yes, yet these “scientists” FOUND that water availability and water supply play a factor in how much CO2 increases plant growth.

I am glad they found this out, because everybody with common sense already knows.

Did they find out that farmers control water supply? Did they find out that additional CO2 makes plants more drought resistant, AND more nitrogen efficient?

John Tillman
Reply to  David A
December 11, 2020 2:22 pm

All the narrative that fits. None that doesn’t.

Activist advocacy, not science.

Rich Davis
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 3:07 pm

It has the EurekAlert! imprimatur— certified falsehood.

meiggs
Reply to  David A
December 11, 2020 5:08 pm

Plants need water to grow??

MarkW
Reply to  meiggs
December 12, 2020 7:42 am

I’ve heard that before. I just don’t remember where.

Rich Davis
Reply to  meiggs
December 12, 2020 10:27 am

“You mean like out the toilet?”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vw2CrY9Igs

ozspeaksup
Reply to  David A
December 12, 2020 3:17 am

and having plants/tree creates water/rain events that otherwise don t occur
see land cleared for mines changing local weather dramatically as in central qld(firns lives there)
removing old senescing trees always helps too. allows new growth to replaceit
meanwhile in my place Ive noted a very old redgum which usually is light on top and dropping older leaves in this season has masses of new shiny green growth right to the 70ft+ top
rainfalls close the avg for the yr after a drought year at 520mm so far
avg temps day and night are Below by as much as 5c

gringojay
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 2:30 pm

As I cited long ago elsewhere on WUWT: the characterization of elevated CO2 (eCO2) occasioning reduced stomata openness is a generalization & linear mis-representation. In some plants during their late season growth their stomata are actually relatively more open, despite eCO2.

RockyRoad
Reply to  gringojay
December 11, 2020 3:38 pm

But what is the overall ratio?… 80/20?, 90/10?, or 95/5?.
The trend dominates the outlier.

Tony Garcia
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 10:55 pm

This relies on the accepted assumption that plants obtain their CO2 via the stomata. This in turn is based on an old experiment that used distilled water as a proxy for rainfall, as it was assumed that pure water does not readily take up other substances. Since we have first hand knowledge of acid rain, i.e. rain water taking up other substances in it’s travel through the atmosphere, and no one has yet explained, to my knowledge, how it is that water in travelling through soil manages to take up the other nutrients that plants need but not Carbon Dioxide, I am extremely skeptical of that particular conclusion. Given this, I think it’s time someone took a sap sample from a plant and examined it to establish whether CO2 is present or not, something that should be trivial with today’s technology. Should it turn out that the “accepted facts” are incorrect, it will probably change our farming practices, amongst other possibilities…

Reply to  Tony Garcia
December 11, 2020 11:33 pm

Tony, CO2 plus water yields carbonic acid, a mild acid.

CO2(aq) plus H20 → H2CO3(aq)

This happens every time the rain falls, and the mildness of the resulting acid can be seen in the fact that we merrily drink rainwater and it doesn’t seem acid at all.

As a result, it would suprise me immensely if there were enough CO2 dissolved in the water to supply the needs of the plant … and that’s apart from the issue of the plant having to somehow remove the CO2 from solution. That takes energy in some form …

w.

Tony Garcia
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 12:37 am

Quite so, yet that carbonic acid, together with additional additional CO2 obtained through passage through the soil is credited with creating limestone caves, complete with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as those in chalky soils. The original experiment provided for no dissolved CO2 in the water, yet we have now agreed that there is in fact some CO2 dissolved in the water that the plants take in. If we consider that it is reasonable to assume that the water is saturated by the time it reaches the leaves, an explanation must be sought as to how additional absorption can take place…

Reply to  Tony Garcia
December 12, 2020 8:56 am

True, Tony, but the mildest acids can dissolve limestone over hundreds and thousands of years …

The part that you are leaving out is that the plants are alive. And life can drive just about any reversible chemical reaction in either direction. How do plants do it?

They do it with the help of two things—chlorophyll-related catalysts and solar energy. And when you have those, the saturation state of the water is not an issue. What plants do is:

CO2(gas) plus H20 + sunlight + chlorophyll → C6H12O6 (sugars) + O2

Note that what is happening here is NOT just carbon dioxide dissolving in or bubbling out of water in the reactions we discussed above …

Regards,

w.

Tony Garcia
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 9:55 am

I appreciate what you are saying, but you miss the thrust of my argument here. The experiment that determined the current position that plants obtain their Carbon Dioxide directly from the air was based on the assumption that pure water, as a proxy for rainwater, would not accept Carbon Dioxide from the air. Given this, pure water was provided to a leaf and photosynthesis took place at the stomata, hence hey presto, plants must obtain the Carbon Dioxide they require from the air. Since we have just agreed that rainwater does, in fact, take up Carbon Dioxide directly from the atmosphere, is the conclusion drawn from the leaf experiment still valid? Can we still assert that plants get their required CO2 directly from the atmosphere at the stomata when we know the water already contains Carbon Dioxide even before the plant takes it up?

Reply to  Tony Garcia
December 12, 2020 10:17 am

Tony Garcia December 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

I appreciate what you are saying, but you miss the thrust of my argument here. The experiment that determined the current position that plants obtain their Carbon Dioxide directly from the air was based on the assumption that pure water, as a proxy for rainwater, would not accept Carbon Dioxide from the air.

Cite? AFAIK, CO2 uptake has been measured many, many times, and in a variety of ways, to determine a host of things about the plants. Where did you get the idea that the experiment has only been done with pure water?

Here’s a forinstance …

The rate of photosynthesis can be determined by measuring the rate of production of sugar or oxygen or by measuring the rate of decrease in carbon dioxide concentration. A common aquarium plant called, Elodea, can be used to show fast carbon dioxide is being removed from the water in which the Elodea is submerged.

There’s three ways to measure CO2 uptake … none of which require pure water. And curiously, one of the ways is to measure how fast CO2 is removed from water by the aquarium plants Elodea …

w.

Tony Garcia
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 10:53 am

I appreciate the example you give, yet since it was performed with an aquatic plant, no soil was involved ipso facto. If you can quote an experiment other than the leaf one that indicates that plants rooted in soil obtain their Carbon Dioxide directly from the air via the stomata rather than utilising the Carbon Dioxide that we both agree rainwater collects from the air in it’s fall to earth, I’d be most grateful….

Reply to  Tony Garcia
December 12, 2020 11:24 am

Tony, to date you’ve provided no link to your claim about pure water. Do land plants get some CO2 from water? Likely, although likely very little. Are aquatic plants different from land plants? Sure. So what?

My point remains. The entire photosythesis process has been extensively studied for decades. Not sure what difference you think the error you claim (without evidence) was made would make … there is absolutely not enough CO2 in the amount of water a plant uses to provide more than a tiny part of the CO2 needed. We know this from stomatal measurements. Think about it.

Finally, I pointed out that there are two other ways to measure CO2 used, neither of which require pure water. You’ve flat out ignored that … why?

w.

Tony Garcia
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 7:18 pm

Perhaps if I explain why I am pursuing the matter, things will become clearer. Due to the experiment with pure water that I refer to, a determination was made that plants obtain their Carbon requirements directly from the air via the stomata. As a result of this, nutrients such as Nitrates will be used to supplement soil used for farming, but no Carbon will be intentionally introduced due to the aforementioned assumption. We have agreed that the water does, indeed, take up Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. This alone, in my view, invalidates the experiment with the leaf. There is now the passage of water already containing Carbon Dioxide through the soil until it reaches the plant and is taken up. As you point out, the CO2 obtained by the water from the atmosphere is insufficient for the plant’s needs, so the additional CO2 is either being obtained from the soil or from the atmosphere, the atmosphere being the accepted source. An explanation would now need to be provided as to why no further CO2 is taken up via passage through the soil, as it is more Carbon-rich than the atmosphere. Should it be the case that the additional Carbon is indeed being sourced from the soil, a gradual depletion will take place under intensive farming conditions as it is not being intentionally replaced. What set me off on this search is that on the Innocentive site the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture are co-sponsoring with other entities a search for the “Nextgen Fertiliser Innovations”, and I was curious as to why apparently traditional fertilisers are no longer deemed ineffective. I will attempt to locate a link relevant to the “pure water” experiment and will provide it when I find it. Many thanks for your input so far, TG

Reply to  Tony Garcia
December 12, 2020 9:36 pm

Tony Garcia December 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Perhaps if I explain why I am pursuing the matter, things will become clearer. Due to the experiment with pure water that I refer to …

WHICH EXPERIMENT? Sorry for shouting, but I asked before for a link and got nothing …

w.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2020 9:27 am

Yup John, very broad brush….
A single degree of global warming increases the water molecules above the oceans by 7%. Air parcels rising equal air parcels descending, so that is likely to result in 3.5% times 70% ocean coverage or 2.5% more precipitation on a global average. This is within the normal variation everywhere on the planet, so would require a more than 2 climate periods of 30 years to even measure with some statistical confidence. Their basic premise of warmth causing water deficiency is simply wrong.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 12, 2020 9:37 am

And I won’t even get into how the 2.5% more precipitation comes from 2.5% more cloud cover, which reflect 2.5% times cloud albedo back into outer space and causes the 1 C increase to become zero C increase over the next day or so…..very broad brushedly speaking of course…..

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 13, 2020 10:10 am

This is less certain though. The change in albedo is much less certain. It depends on when and where clouds form, their brightness, thickness/height, daytime versus nighttime, etc.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 13, 2020 10:08 am

Yup.

BCBill
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2020 12:51 pm

That is the most important point. Ample greenhouse data shows unequivocally that plants continue responding to CO2 well beyond current levels. In open environments there will be wet years when moisture is decidedly not limiting and in dry years high CO2 makes low moisture less limiting. Mycorrhizal communities will change under the influence of high CO2, organic bound nutrients in the soil will increase with the higher plant productivity from elevated CO2. Once again a situation too complex to model has been turned into a fear factor in the never ending drive to create a world in a never ending state of anxiety.

rbabcock
December 11, 2020 10:16 am

Now that Biden is back (probably), the greening of “Climate Scientists'” pockets is just beginning.

Mr.
Reply to  rbabcock
December 11, 2020 12:53 pm

Well, to borrow from Joe’s penultimate predecessor (the one who declared “the moment seas stop rising and the planet starts to heal), maybe Joe should now come out and at his inauguration declare –

“This is the moment the CO2 stops fertilizing, and the planet turns to shit”

(Oh wait- apparently that’s already happened 🙁 )

Bob boder
December 11, 2020 10:25 am

its worse then we thought again!!
it just never ends

Robertvd
Reply to  Bob boder
December 12, 2020 2:22 am

You just wonder how life could have survived for so long. Because if what these ‘scientists’ say is true, plant life would have extinct a long long long time ago.

December 11, 2020 10:28 am

IOW, the greening acceleration, call it “Green double dot”, is decreasing. Okay.
From near logarithmic growth to a steadier linear growth, that’s what biological systems do.

December 11, 2020 10:28 am

Sahara and other deserts don’t green only because of CO2 but also because of changing weather patters with more rain in dersert regions.
Crocos in oasis today show us, the complete region of the Sahara was a flowering region in warmer times of our history with more rain.

M.W.Plia
Reply to  Krishna Gans
December 11, 2020 12:21 pm

Krishna Gans, check out this video at 20mins.

Apparently, in response to a northerly movement of the monsoon, the greening of the Sahara occurs at or near each interglacial inception and lasts for several thousand years. 7 times in the last 600,000 years.

It is thought this phenomenon contributed significantly to Sapiens evolution.

Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 11, 2020 1:59 pm

Yes it’s high obliquity that triggers interglacials (after a 6500 year lag for ocean heating) which make the inter tropical convergence zone wider bringing the monsoon to north Africa.

It’s interesting to speculate if unusually high atmospheric CO2 might induce the Sahara to green over even in the absence of the obliquity driven monsoon.

Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 11, 2020 2:19 pm

Rapid end of the Green Sahara 8000 years ago
19 January 2015/Kiel. 9,000 years ago most of the Sahara was not the ultra-arid desert as we know it today. Due to higher precipitation it was covered by large lakes and savannah that were populated by herds of wild game. Scientists from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) now have discovered that vegetation at the end of the Green Sahara disappeared much faster than previously assumed. This probably forced the Neolithic populations to start farming. The study has been published in the international open-access journal PLOS ONE.
At other places they talk about the possible reason.
The Green Sahara, also known as the African Humid Period, was caused by the Earth’s constantly changing orbital rotation around its axis, a pattern that repeats itself every 23,000 years, according to Kathleen Johnson, an associate professor of Earth systems at the University of California Irvine.
Source

Reply to  Krishna Gans
December 11, 2020 3:04 pm
Rory Forbes
December 11, 2020 10:35 am

“These unprecedented results indicate that the absorption of carbon by vegetation is beginning to become saturated. ”

The moment I see the word “unprecedented” it’s a good indication we’re looking at more junk science. Then I look a little further and I see “modeled result”. Now I’m sure I’m being sold another pointless bill of goods. Because it was inarguable that CO2 greening was taking place and that more CO2 was clearly providing benefits, that fact needed to be altered to further the “CO2 bad” narrative and get the “climate change” propaganda back on track.

fred250
Reply to  Rory Forbes
December 11, 2020 12:20 pm

LOL..

Funny how plants that can into being with MUCH HIGHER CO2 levels, suddenly have issues with not enough micro trace elements

I call BS !!!

Reply to  fred250
December 11, 2020 5:29 pm

On target!

USDA back in the 1950s tested higher CO₂ levels for crop growing.
Plants grew extremely well under higher CO₂ levels.

Except they quickly drained their limited soils of trace elements.
USDA authors surmised that it was the constrained environments preventing plants from absorbing sufficient trace elements.

i.e. people building and managing the constrained environments underestimates what is needed for increased plant growth and fail to supply sufficient nutrients and minerals.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  ATheoK
December 12, 2020 3:23 am

if you take everything OFF farm for sale instead of feeding the grain n hays to ON farm with some sold, not all, and all waste and manures spread on farm as originall happened…
then yes soils deplete what they had.
some soils need extras regardless due to mineral deficiency or xcesses of certain nutrients
its our relience on bringing all fertiliser in to replace what we flog off and going to monocrops not mixed farming thats helped screw it up

MarkW
December 11, 2020 10:36 am

Yet another so called science paper that ignores well known science.
As CO2 levels increase, plants need less water.

If the author’s don’t know that, they don’t know enough to be speaking on this subject.

commieBob
Reply to  MarkW
December 11, 2020 12:09 pm

A long time ago I would be surprised when a PhD didn’t know something, related to their field, that I had supposed was common knowledge among educated people. It finally dawned on me that a PhD isn’t actually an education in the sense of the word as I was raised to think of it.

Reply to  commieBob
December 11, 2020 1:02 pm

My qualification was not PhD, hardly, but I was told that it was a license to learn.

I did earn it through a long oral defense of my knowledge and abilities. Apocrine sweat rings ruined an expensive dress shirt.

John Tillman
Reply to  commieBob
December 11, 2020 2:53 pm

It’s an academic union card.

James Clarke
Reply to  commieBob
December 11, 2020 4:18 pm

Having a PhD does not mean that one knows more that is true, only that one knows more. Today’s universities specialize in giving out PhD’s in things that are clearly false and/or capricious! If ‘knowing’ something that is false brings more power and control over people, the false thing is more valuable than the truth at (post) modern universities!

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  James Clarke
December 12, 2020 10:14 am

Piled higher and Deeper.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
December 12, 2020 10:51 am

If you’re going there, you need to do the whole sequence:

BS: Bull Shit
MS: More Shit
PhD: Piled higher & Deeper

MarkW
December 11, 2020 10:38 am

If the trees grow bigger, they will drop more leaves.
If the trees drop more leaves, then the nutrients taken up by the trees to grow more leaves will be replaced.

Once again, not a problem, unless you are looking for an excuse to trick others into panicing.

fred250
Reply to  MarkW
December 11, 2020 12:21 pm

And the CARBON CYCLE is further invigorated.

They have also found that nitrogen fixing soil bacteria thrive under increased atmospheric CO2.

jorgekafkazar
December 11, 2020 10:38 am

“I smell a model approaching,” sez I, as I sat down to read this post. I was not disappointed:

“The study published in Science has been carried out using satellite, atmospheric, ecosystem and modelling information,” sez the post.

I turned off my AGWBS detector and got another cup of coffee.

December 11, 2020 10:40 am

“…However much the CO2 increases, if the nutrients and water do not increase in parallel, the plants will not be able to take advantage of the increase in this gas”, explains Professor Josep Peñuelas.

The ignorance of “experts” is often remarkable, particularly when they publish in Science (or Nature, or PNAS). It is a long-established fact, proven by many studies, that higher CO2 levels reduce plants’ water requirements.

Elevated CO2 (“eCO2”) is also especially beneficial in drought conditions. The incidence of droughts has declined only slightly, but their destructive impact is significantly mitigated by today’s higher CO2 levels, because eCO2 reduces plants’ water requirements. Here’s a paper which mentions it:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168192310003163
EXCERPT: “There have been many studies on the interaction of CO2 and water on plant growth. Under elevated CO2, less water is used to produce each unit of dry matter by reducing stomatal conductance.”

Here’s a paper about wheat:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26929390
Fitzgerald, et al. Elevated atmospheric [CO2] can dramatically increase wheat yields in semi-arid environments and buffer against heat waves, Glob. Change Biol, vol.22, pp.2269-2284, 2016.

Cheng, L., et al 2017. Recent increases in terrestrial carbon uptake at little cost to the water cycle. Nat Commun 8, 110 (2017). doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00114-5) reports that the global increase in transpiration due to increased foliage has been offset by a decrease in transpiration due to improved water use efficiency, resulting in almost no change in net transpiration. They found that, thanks to rising CO2 levels, “Land plants are absorbing 17% more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere now than 30 years ago… [yet] the vegetation is hardly using any extra water to do it, suggesting that global change is causing the world’s plants to grow in a more water-efficient way.”

AndyHce
Reply to  Dave Burton
December 11, 2020 10:31 pm

Water is both an essential part of plant structure and an essential ingredient in their metabolism. Water use cannot go to zero. If CO2 increases, increasing plant growth, and available water does not increase, there will be a time when the increased plants utilize all the available water. Beyond that point, more CO2 cannot cause more plant growth.

It seems likely that some parts of the earth have so much available water that such a circumstance is unlikely to be reached. Something else will be the limiting factor, such as sunshine for energy or density of plants competing with each other.

Since the majority of greening so far seems to have been in semi-arid regions, water availability may well be the limiting factor.

When humans intervene, such as supplying water through irrigation, the dynamics are changed. With enough energy for useful work, there is an essentially unlimited amount of water over more than 70% of the globe.

Reply to  AndyHce
December 12, 2020 7:24 am

AndyHce wrote, “Water use cannot go to zero. If CO2 increases, increasing plant growth, and available water does not increase, there will be a time when the increased plants utilize all the available water.”

Of course it is true that “water use cannot go to zero.” Just as more efficient energy use won’t enable wind & solar power generation to power your factory on windless nights, more efficient use of water is of no use when there’s no water to use.

But I wasn’t talking about what happens when there’s no water at all. When some water is available, but it is in short supply, eCO2 is extremely beneficial. In such conditions, plant growth is limited by the shortage of water, but higher CO2 levels reduce plants’ water requirements, so more plant growth and higher crop yields are achieved from the same limited amount of water.
 

Andy continued, “there will be a time when the increased plants utilize all the available water. Beyond that point, more CO2 cannot cause more plant growth.”

That is incorrect. The circumstance in which plants are using all the water that they can get is exactly the circumstance in which extra CO2 is most beneficial.
 

Andy continued, “Since the majority of greening so far seems to have been in semi-arid regions, water availability may well be the limiting factor.”

It’s the other way around: semi-arid regions are greening more rapidly than other places largely because rising CO2 levels make plants more water-efficient and drought-resilient. (In the Sahel, rainfall amounts have apparently improved, as well, but I don’t think anyone knows why.)

Many places have plenty of water. eCO2 is obviously very beneficial in those places, thanks to the “fertilization effect.”

Many other places have chronic or frequent water shortages. eCO2 is even more beneficial in those places.

A few places have basically no water at all. Those are the only places where eCO2 doesn’t do any good. But at the edges of such places, they are typically bordered by areas in which there’s not quite enough rainfall to support plants. eCO2 can enable those places to sustain plant life, despite the short supply of water.

That causes deserts to retreat. Here’s a 2009 National Geographic article (which they’ve removed from their website):
Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change?
EXCERPT:

    Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.
    The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. …
    In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.
    “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades. …
    “Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass,” he said.
    “Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back,” he said.
    “The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable.”

Likewise, New Scientist reported (also in this revised version) the “remarkable environmental turnaround,” including a “quite spectacular regeneration of vegetation,” and “a 70 per cent increase in yields of local cereals such as sorghum and millet in one province in recent years.”

A 70% improvement in crop yields, where agriculture is difficult, is a very, very big deal.

When I was a child, horrific famines were frequently in the news, in places like Bangladesh, China, and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. But children these days just don’t know what famine is. Even Bangladesh now has food surpluses, every year.

Graph:comment image
Web page: https://ourworldindata.org/famines

It is just about impossible to overstate the importance of that wonderful change. In Scripture, famine was the “third horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Throughout human history, famines — usually triggered by drought — were among the worst scourges of mankind.

Not anymore.

Rising CO2 level is not the only reason for that welcome change, but it’s one of the important ones. Most obviously, elevated CO2 (eCO2) improves crop yields through “CO2 fertilization,” making food more plentiful. eCO2 is highly beneficial for all major crops, and it is one of the reasons for improving grain yields:

graph:comment image
Web page: https://ourworldindata.org/crop-yields

But the beneficial effects of eCO2 for mitigating drought damage might be an even more important contributor to the decline in famines.

Ending famine is a Very Big Deal. comparable to ending war and disease. For comparison:
● The 1918 flu pandemic killed about 2% of world population.
● WWII killed about 2.7% of world population.
● The global drought & famine of 1876-78 killed an estimated 3.7% of world population.

So, even if English children have to endure slightly less frequent sledding weather in coming decades, in my judgment that will be a small price to pay for saving African and Asian children from starvation.

MarkW
Reply to  AndyHce
December 12, 2020 7:48 am

The whole point is that as CO2 levels go up, the plants need less water. As a result there can be more plants in a given area, even if there is no increase in water supply. Plants are also able to grow in places that were too dry before.

Richard Lund
December 11, 2020 10:41 am

BS!!

Lancifer
December 11, 2020 10:45 am

More’ CO2 bad’ or in this case “not more good” propaganda.

December 11, 2020 10:46 am

Possibly another example of:
“I like custom-tailored white lab coats, please send money.”

Notanacademic
December 11, 2020 11:05 am

Surely a newly greened peice of land will attract wildlife, birds, mammals, predators some will eat the plants some will eat other animals all these animals will crap on the ground, in autumn the leaves will fall and rot. All this and more puts nutrients back in the soil. Otherwise how does any green area stay green given adaqate rainfall, simplistic but I think I am basically correct.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Notanacademic
December 11, 2020 5:39 pm

These “scientists” cannot model an actual biosphere with any accuracy. What you said is 100% accurate. In a natural environment the presence of mycillia from the various fungi as well as minute round worms, called nematodes combined alters the entire system of water and nutrient transport. Such massively complex systems cannot be modeled with any better accuracy than the climate can. It’s just junk science relying on expectation bias.

a_scientist
December 11, 2020 11:10 am

OK King Canute.

Sea level has been rising for thousands of years, and hundreds of years since we have tide gauges.

No acceleration despite increases in CO2.

Sorry, not a problem to deal with 2-3mm/year that humans have been dealing with for centuries.

The Dutch have figured out how to live below sea level for hundreds of years, humans are smart and can adapt.

THOMAS ENGLERT
Reply to  a_scientist
December 11, 2020 11:23 am

Sea levels have dropped at times over the last inter-glacial.

chemman
Reply to  THOMAS ENGLERT
December 11, 2020 12:16 pm

Was that an actual drop or was it isostatic rebound?

Joe Prins
Reply to  a_scientist
December 11, 2020 11:35 am

Logically the conclusion should be: the Dutch are smart.
Just funning

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joe Prins
December 11, 2020 2:57 pm

I have a German friend who like to joke about his Dutch friends and coworkers in Shell

Wooden shoes, wooden head, wouldn’t listen

bluecat57
December 11, 2020 11:10 am

Then why isn’t Greenland green?

Reply to  bluecat57
December 11, 2020 12:57 pm

Great response. I’m hoping we do see a green Greenland someday — making Greenland great again.

Gordon A. Dressler
December 11, 2020 11:14 am

Hmmm . . . greenhouse growers know that the optimum level of ambient CO2 for maximum yield (aka “greening”) of their plants is between 800 and 1300 ppm (ref: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm#:~:text=For%20most%20crops%20the%20saturation,well%20as%20for%20lettuce%20production. ), and they intentionally introduce CO2 into their greenhouses to reach levels in that range for maximum yield.

Methinks the the CSIC has overlooked that at the current level of about 410 ppm CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere, there is still a SIGNIFICANT amount of CO2-induced greening to be had around the globe, independent of the amounts of water/moisture and nutrients they assert to be limiting factors.

Note carefully that the “researchers” have only concluded that the rate of greening has decreased by about 50% since 1982, NOT that it has ceased altogether. When one is on an exponentially decaying curve, there is still an awful amount of area under the last 50% of the exponential.

Reality 101.

GoatGuy
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
December 11, 2020 2:24 pm

Ummm…. except that greenhouse growers are also keeping the potash, phosphate, nitrogen and trace mineral concentration in their growing mediums quite elevated from say a boreal forest or tropical rainforest. Quite a bit different.

Indeed: one of the strongest moderating influences on the Brazilian and African equatorial rainforest is the near-aerosol lofting of iron rich dusts from the Sahara, which when circling the globe, deposit themselves as silty rain in the rainforests. Iron and phosphate is BIG. Nitrogen … has a whole lot of other means to be generated in situ. Never underestimate the effects of both lightning and non-glowing coronal discharge. LOTS of nitrogen is ‘fixed’ that way, along with the anaerobic root bacterial routes.

⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  GoatGuy
December 11, 2020 5:11 pm

” . . . except that greenhouse growers are also keeping the potash, phosphate, nitrogen and trace mineral concentration in their growing mediums quite elevated from say a boreal forest or tropical rainforest.”

Got any facts to go with assertion . . . as in, what you mean by “quite elevated”.

And BTW, boreal forests and tropical rainforests are NOT widely considered to be the prime areas on Earth for growing essential food crops . . . the soil in these locales is too poor. One of the main reasons that rainforest vegetation is burned when clearing previously forested land is to rapidly provide nutrients to the soil for non-indigenous plants that can’t grow otherwise in the previously-existing soil. Also, the high tree canopies typical of boreal forests and tropical rainforests generally prevent sufficient sunlight from reaching the zone of 0-20 feet above the ground which encompasses nearly all crop plants.

Then too, farmers in the Earth’s prime food productions areas (such as the mid-West plains of the US and the central valleys of California) typically employ fertilizers (to keep the potash, phosphate, nitrogen and trace mineral concentrations in their soils) at levels sufficient for maximum crop production.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
December 11, 2020 6:44 pm

You’re right. One of the characteristics most evident in temperate and tropical rain forests are the extremely nutrient poor soils, relying almost completely on primary tree death to re-nourish new growth and the under-story. The notion that some how the great tropical jungles are nutrient rich environments is a myth.

AndyHce
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
December 11, 2020 10:36 pm

Most of the greening is not in agriculture but in wild plant growth. No one is fertilizing that.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  AndyHce
December 12, 2020 9:18 am

AndyHce posted: “Most of the greening is not in agriculture but in wild plant growth. No one is fertilizing that.”

That statement is not supported by NASA’s data and its conclusions:
“From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change . . .
“Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect . . . The second most important driver is nitrogen, at 9 percent. So we see what an outsized role CO2 plays in this process.”
— source: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth (note: data of publication is April 2016)

If you consult the color-coded world map of the greening that NASA documented from satellite observation given in the same referenced article, you will see that the changes in leaf area from 1982 to 2015 exceeded 5% (with many areas exceeding 15%) over most of the AGRICULTURAL areas of the four major food-exporting countries of the world: United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and China.

The above changes in greening (via satellite measurement of leaf area differences from 1982 to 2015) are also true for the world’s five major food-production countries: China, United States, Turkey, India, and Brazil.

This world-wide greening of crop lands (with the associated increase in crop yields) has been a very large factor in preventing mass starvation as the world population continues to grow an annual rate of about 1% per year.

Joel Snider
December 11, 2020 11:15 am

Talking point science.

Leo Smith
December 11, 2020 11:16 am

Totally ignores seaborne photosynthesis of course. Plenty of water there….

Andre Den Tandt
December 11, 2020 11:19 am

“We have found that plants slow down their growth, not only in times of drought, but also when there are changes in the seasonality of rainfall, which is increasingly happening with climate change.”
When one makes climate change the cause of the stated effect, but then clearly implies that climate change is the principal consequence, you get circular thinking, like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
Is all that drying also responsible for the water levels of the Great Lakes being record high? That at least is quantifiable.

Shoki Kaneda
December 11, 2020 11:22 am

Why would anyone believe anything a Chinese “researcher” and activists like CREAF have to say? I would be more inclined to believe the opposite given their likely agendas.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
December 11, 2020 5:47 pm

Of course the presence of Chinese authors in this travesty of “science” is suspect. It’s a made to order fluff piece intended to set up the counter argument to CO2 “greening” (fertilization) that the AGW true believers need to falsify. It’s a similar device as was M E Mann’s “hockey stick” graph to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. If they can point to this sort of “science” it reinforces the “consensus”.

Sara
December 11, 2020 11:30 am

This stopped me: However much the CO2 increases, if the nutrients and water do not increase in parallel, the plants will not be able to take advantage of the increase in this gas”, explains Professor Josep Peñuelas.

My response: Hogwash. I don’t believe that the “perfesser” knows anything other than what he’s told to parrot out. It appears that his understanding of plants is missing a few chapters. I’m guessing that he only knows about the pots of plants in his lab, and ignores the O2 and H2O that evaporate out of the tops of plants, adding moisture to the atmosphere, never mind O2.

All I have to do is look at my two Carboniferous epoch fossils ( one alethoptera and one shrimp) and repeat (as David MIddleton has told) that the O2 level was 30% back then and the dead plants were likely horsetails that had gone to sporedom (they reproduce by spores) and possibly those fernlike plants alethopteris that produced seeds, and my fossils are cast in stone.

Not impressed by his statement, and now I think I may go fossil hunting next Spring, just for fun. It would be nice to find a crinoid or another shrimp… or a Tully monster.

gringojay
Reply to  Sara
December 11, 2020 2:18 pm

Comparisons of plant productivity with epochs where horsetail plants predominated with current plant productivity can not be made solely in the context of C02 levels. This is because horsetail, in comparison to other plants, accumulates high levels of silica.

Silica is relevant because it supports active configuration of the leaf enzyme carbonic an-hydr-ase; this enzyme is essential for changing the CO2 that enters a stomata into HCO3- (bicarbonate). Laymen should understand that all CO2 that a leaf can productively process must 1st (very briefly) form bicarbonate; since bicarbonate crucial to get functioning the initial enzyme in the ensuing process steps culminating in carbon assimilation.

Many agronomic products are marketed for crops that are formulated enriched with silica. Their marketing claims cover many supposed benefits, which I am not repeating & their literature deal probably misses with what I’ve elucidated. I haven’t read the Original Post’s cited research & it presumably has no reference to silica, since silicates are considerably abundant on earth.

John Tillman
Reply to  gringojay
December 11, 2020 3:04 pm

However, flowering plants spread during the Cretaceous, from around 120 Ma. CO2 varied during the period, starting out lower in the cooler Early Cretaceous, but reaching an estimated 1700ppm at its warmest c. 90 Ma in mid-period. Two warm spells in the Late Cretaceous enjoyed ~1400ppm.

A doubling of CO2 in the Cretaceous achieved an ECS of only about 0.6 degrees C:

https://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/13/12/pdf/i1052-5173-13-12-4.pdf

John Tillman
Reply to  gringojay
December 11, 2020 3:18 pm

When angiosperms started spreading during the Aptian (~125 to 113 Ma) and early Albian Ages of the Early Cretaceous hothouse, CO2 has been estimated at 1098–1142 ppmv by Carboniferous standardization or 970–1305 ppmv by regression function:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195667115301324

gringojay
Reply to  John Tillman
December 11, 2020 4:53 pm

Angiosperms ( which took lots of land away from those Carboniferous horsetails) significantly evolved their leaves in the Cretaceous. Originally their leaves had a sparser pattern of veins, larger stomata pore sizes & lower stomata density (per square mm leaf area) than their late Albion (~100 Ma) counterparts.

By the late Cretaceous (~60 Ma) angiosperms really had lots of leaf veins & also the size of stoma had gone down. This made it better for them because it brought water closer to where used in the leaf & a parallel evolution was that the density of individual leaf stomata increased per square mm.

In other words, the ambient CO2 was falling & angiosperms changed both the networks of their leaf vein, as well as stomata to be more like we currently think of as the design of flowering plant leaves. A linear comparison of current angiosperms to those ~125 Ma when CO2 was higher overlooks their compensatory adaptation to lower CO2 that allowed angiosperms to thrive.

Jon Scott
Reply to  John Tillman
December 13, 2020 7:10 am

Hi John, The numbers I have for atmospheric CO2 when the angiosperms evolved are substantially higher, 2500-2800ppm, which also fits into the general decline curve for atmospheric CO2 starting 160 million years ago due to that small matter culminating in 180ppm during the first part of the current ice age, or put another way 20ppm above the death of plants. Interesting with all that that critical thinking and correct application of the scientific method that climate “science” ignores geological history except for the saw tooth pattern of the last 800K years showing degassing and regassing of the Oceans. To ignore all that went before is quite simply to alias the data but then being clever “scientists” they will know about that so it is not done by accident.

Sara
Reply to  Sara
December 12, 2020 5:46 am

Well, you guys contributing to this just proved my point.

Editor
December 11, 2020 11:59 am

Original article available on Sci-Hub here

w.

Steve Z
December 11, 2020 12:00 pm

Photosynthetic plants absorb CO2 from the air through openings (stomata) in their leaves, which also allow some water vapor to leak out (transpiration). Scientific studies on individual plants have shown that increasing the CO2 concentration in the air enables the plants to reduce the area of their stomata, thereby reducing water loss. Although the photosynthesis reaction does consume water, most plants absorb much more water through their roots than is consumed by reaction, due to other plant functions that use water as a solvent.

Assuming that the water supply in the soil does not depend on atmospheric CO2, increasing CO2 concentration would decrease the water loss rate, and enable the plant to survive on less water during a drought, due to the reduced water loss through the stomata.

HenryP
December 11, 2020 12:05 pm

The greening is causing much of the warming. If the greening stops the (extra) warming will also stop.

Jon Scott
Reply to  HenryP
December 13, 2020 7:11 am

eh?
Please explain that with some relevant numbers

Rud Istvan
December 11, 2020 12:14 pm

The lessening of greening argument apparently rests on supposed water and nutrient contraints.

The water constraint is spurious for two reasons. Most places are not water constrained, period. Those that are, like the Sahel, experience MORE greening because with more CO2 C3 plants need less water because they lose less via their stomata.

The nutrient constraint is also spurious for two reasons.
1. All nutrients in natural forests and ‘wild’ prairie vegetation get fully recycled via decay, even in severely leached out soils like the Amazon rain forest. More greening means more decay recycling on decadal scales. Otherwise there would be no Amazon rain forest.
2. In most soils, all nutrients except nitrogen are also continuously (albeit slowly) increased by subsoil ‘rock’ weathering (admittedly intensive ag requires supplemental fertilizer), and nitrogen is continuously added by nitrogen fixing bacteria colonizing roots. More CO2 means slightly more acidic rain, so slightly accelerated subsoil weathering.

Last time I checked the satellite greening data (late 2014), it was up 17% during the satellite era (start circa 1982) and accelerating, not decelerating. Just went and checked a few sat greening papers from 2016-2019. No mention of decelerating greening anywhere, let alone by half.

Gary Pearse
December 11, 2020 12:15 pm

So, here is how it really works in arid areas. The greening starts as a fringing growth. This provides some shade, some cooling and new seeding for a new fringing growth added on. …. It expands the change in local climate. In the rainy season, say in the Sahel south of the Sahara, this new growth retains more and more of the soil moisture that otherwise would run off rapidly. Creatures, large and small take up residence and contribute available nitrogen as does burgeoning growth of microbial action. Ecologies know how to do this.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 11, 2020 3:24 pm

Oh, and the new vegetation takes up its full share of the CO2 while the original “fringe” (when it’s mature) will take up less. So the 40yrs of greening weve had will be repeated anew again and again plus adding on 50% for last 40yrs…. and down to a small percentage eventually. Linear minds have problems imagining a dynamic picture where, despite a declining effect on mature existing growth, the whole system is exponential in growth as is, ergo, demand for CO2 until coverage is complete (centuries hence).

Also, devegetated arid areas got that way from diminishing water availability, not from disappearance of nutrients. That is why greening can occur with only an increase in CO2 in warm parts of the globe. Revegetation itself will also change the climate itself!

Biologists seem to see ecology as a fixed thing, a painting. If there is change, something bad has happened. This is why most gloom and doom forecasts seem to come from biologists and all turn out to be diametrucally wrong. Bios, take a couple of paleontology and historical geology courses for remedial purposes.

A C Osborn
December 11, 2020 12:16 pm

Does anyone know of studies where Greenhouses have had their CO2 increased from 400ppm to 1200ppm, does it affect the temperature in the greenhouse and by how much?
I ask this question after reading on No Tricks Zone about naturally occurring very high levels of CO2 not affecting the temperature upwards, but downwards.

John Tillman
Reply to  A C Osborn
December 11, 2020 3:29 pm

Wow! Those spiders transiting 100% CO2 air can hold their breath for a long time.

Scissor
December 11, 2020 12:19 pm

Gaia says, “I have not yet begun to green.”

fred250
Reply to  Scissor
December 11, 2020 7:24 pm

The greenies don’t know what GREEN is…

… or what causes it. 😉

ANYONE that thinks we should limit CO2 emissions is either BRAIN-DEAD…

…… or the gullible PATSY of the socialist anti-capitalist anti-LIFE agenda.

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of people like that.

Timothy
December 11, 2020 12:22 pm

In a warming world, longer growing seasons in colderclimates. Not to mention since they say the artic is melting all that area to grow also absorbing more CO2!

fred250
December 11, 2020 12:23 pm

sorry, just too incoherent to read. !

DrEd
December 11, 2020 12:25 pm

We haven’t heard about any increases in the phytoplankton, especially near the polar regions, due to increased CO2 dissolved in the oceans. Should be “greening” the oceans considerably, and therefore increasing ocean life. Any thoughts?

AndyHce
Reply to  DrEd
December 11, 2020 10:48 pm

There has been quite a bit written about the large increase of microscopic ocean plants.

Alexander
December 11, 2020 12:26 pm

Wow! These modeling expert scientists have rediscovered Liebig’s Law. What an accomplishment!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig's_law_of_the_minimum

Liebig law of the minimum, often simply called Liebig’s law or the law of the minimum, is a principle developed in agricultural science by Carl Sprengel (1840) and later popularized by Justus von Liebig. It states that growth is dictated not by total resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor). The law has also been applied to biological populations and ecosystem models for factors such as sunlight or mineral nutrients.

And parenthetically, reading these comments is a celebration of well-deserved snarky invective, for yet another ignorant half-assed “politicized-science” publication that is really an embarrassment for the “scientists” and the journal. As is often the case here at WUWT, the comments are as or more enlightening than the original papers or articles. Kudos to us all. Now all we need is a global media empire to get the word out.

Robert of Texas
December 11, 2020 12:33 pm

““We have found that plants slow down their growth, not only in times of drought, but also when there are changes in the seasonality of rainfall, which is increasingly happening with climate change,” explains researcher Yongguan Zhang.”

So, they finally agree that tree ring growth cannot be used as a proxy for temperature! Well this is progress at least.

Meanwhile, let me see if I can summarize this…It’s worse than we thought?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Robert of Texas
December 11, 2020 7:10 pm

The real question in that quote is: since “change” is the default condition of all climates, either gradual or rapid, depending on the location; how can a continuous condition be occurring “increasingly”?

Louis Hunt
Reply to  Robert of Texas
December 12, 2020 2:04 pm

Is there any evidence for these claimed changes in the “seasonality of rainfall”? Changes can mean a decrease or increase. Last I read, climate change can cause both droughts and floods. So which is it? Over what time period? If it is just over a few years, it is just noise on a graph of natural variability. It has to be long term to mean anything. And are these changes “increasingly happening”? That would mean the changes in the seasonality of rainfall (whatever that means) are accelerating. Is there any evidence for that? Or are these researchers just blowing CO2 laden smoke in an attempt to make themselves relevant?

Derg
December 11, 2020 12:37 pm

“In fact, this increased sequestration has managed to reduce the CO2 accumulated in the air, but now it is over. “

Over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Climate believer
Reply to  Derg
December 12, 2020 4:26 am

“Over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

???

Jim Gorman
December 11, 2020 12:42 pm

So many things in this make no sense. Sure, if there are not enough nutrients and water available, all the CO2 in the whole world won’t matter. Farmers who harvest crops know this and replace those nutrients when needed. Food won’t be greatly affected. My lawn, sure, a little slower growing won’t be all bad.

Water comes from the roots. More CO2 means closed stomata and less water loss, so less water is needed.

This all sounds like a fiction story and made up data to support it. Typical pseudoscience.

John wilson
December 11, 2020 12:47 pm

Greenhouses pump CO2 in at a level of 1000 PPM as a result of testing what is optimum for crop growth. And we are a long way from that yet.

gringojay
Reply to  John wilson
December 11, 2020 3:57 pm

Greenhouses also commonly turn of their CO2 supplementation about 2-3 hours before dark. This is because it (lowering CO2) allows the plants to do less “dark respiration” (where oxygen that during day the plant puts out doing photosynthesis stops at night & oxygen is then used forming CO2 that gets put out).

The benefit of reduced night CO2 output by a plant is that less assimilated carbon (from daytime photosynthesis) is put back out of the plant. In other words, the CO2 fed into greenhouse operations has a day/night cycle in order to get greater growth.

Commentators frequently report about greenhouse productivity from added CO2 & overlook the difference to elevated ambient CO2. In the outside world it needs to born in mind any CO2 ppm being referred to isn’t dialed down at night (unless research project design does so).

December 11, 2020 12:53 pm

The major sequestering of CO2 and greening of the planet occurs in the cold ocean waters around the poles. There is plenty of water and plenty of nutrients for phytoplankton to feed on. Increasing this bottom of the food chain results in more food for a growing human population.

Editor
December 11, 2020 1:02 pm

The paper says:

This declining trend in the forcing of terrestrial carbon sinks by increasing
amounts of atmospheric CO2 implies a weakening negative feedback on the climatic system and
increased societal dependence on future strategies to mitigate climate warming.

I’m gonna call BS on that … they claim that CO2 sequestration has been decreasing because of the claimed decrease in CO2 fertilization of plants. But there’s an easy way to calculate sequestration. The relationship between emitted carbon (GTonnes C) and airborne CO2 is that 2.13 Gtonne of emitted C creates 1 ppmv of airborne CO2.

However, the amount of airborne CO2 is never as much as the amount emitted, because of sequestration … which means that we can calculate the sequestration. And here it is, from 1959 to 2019:

As you can see, there’s been no significant decrease in the sequestration, from trees or anything else.

w.

Editor
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 11, 2020 1:59 pm

w – Neat. Thx.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 11, 2020 5:10 pm

Nifty. Thx!

MarkW
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
December 11, 2020 5:57 pm

Gosh willikers, Thx

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 11, 2020 5:42 pm

I agree. I get roughly the same result, as you can see in this graph (generated using 10-year smoothing):
http://sealevel.info/global.1751_2014_2019.ems5_v07c_files/image002.png

In fact, as you can see from the linear regression trend line, the percentage of anthropogenic CO2 emissions sequestered by biosphere and oceans has been increasing slightly (i.e., the “airborne fraction” has been trending down):
http://sealevel.info/global.1751_2014_2019.ems5_v07c.html

Here’s the spreadsheet which generated it:
http://sealevel.info/global.1751_2014_2019.ems5_v07c.xlsx

This is the same thing spreadsheet, exported to HTML:
http://sealevel.info/global.1751_2014_2019.ems5_v07c.html

Currently, the net removal/sequestration rate of CO2 from the atmosphere is about half the anthropogenic CO2 emission rate, and this 2016 paper reports that it is increasing:
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13428

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 11, 2020 9:54 pm

Willis: right on! The progression of greening from the periphery of arid regions occurs in fringes inwards. The new fringes have no ‘memory’ of the previous fringes, so they develop with the full capacity of CO2 sequestration added on to the lesser sequestration of the older fringes. It could go on for centuries if cooling doesn’t stop it.

Also, if warming of the oceans coming out of the LIA increases CO2 evolution, it would tend to drive a somewhat exponential sequestration in the arid regions if the mechanism I describe is roughly correct. Of course pre-existing vegetation is ‘fattening’ and the modest warming is driving vegetation growth and expansion in the sub-arctic. The greening has just begun.

Bruce of Newcastle
December 11, 2020 1:04 pm

The Sahara was green as late as about 5,500 BC, which is around when the people inhabiting Nabta Playa in the Egyptian Western Desert were forced to move to the Nile Valley.

The paleodata suggests cold periods such as DO Events lead to drought in the Middle East. Warmer periods appear correlated with more rainfall. So if the climateers are right that CO2 causes warming then you expect there’s a lot of greening to go yet, as rainfall increases across the Sahara.

Matthew Schilling
December 11, 2020 1:09 pm

Sea level rise is a horrible problem – beyond the ken of mankind! Just compare a map of modern Boston to a map of colonial Boston like I’m doing, and you will see how much area in and around that poor city has been lost to the rising sea in just a couple centuries.

Oh wait… I mixed up the maps… never mind!

fred250
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
December 11, 2020 7:25 pm

Incoherent cut/paste garbage !!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  fred250
December 11, 2020 8:45 pm

The guy you’re responding to is clearly mentally disturbed … judging by the spamming with the same C&P of meaningless “hashtags”, three times in one thread.

Meab
December 11, 2020 1:12 pm

Yet the fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere above 280 ppm being removed by plants and the ocean remains constant. That discredits the study”s conclusion that CO2 removal by greening is becoming saturated. It’s sad that a study gets published when it can be falsified so easily.

MarkW
Reply to  Meab
December 11, 2020 5:59 pm

They are working on that.

If it works as planned, falsifying reports will become much harder. It may even be banned altogether.

gbaikie
December 11, 2020 1:30 pm

“A new study published in Science reveals that the fertilizing effect of excess CO2 on vegetation is decreasing worldwide.”

The growth rate of CO2 has been about 2.5 ppm per year for last 10 years and during this time China has had surpassed the world in CO2 emission. And we need another country to increase it’s CO2 emission like China did in order to increase fertilizing effect.
And don’t have a country that can burn as much coal and pollute the world like China did.

It seems the biggest way to increase the greening of the World is by adding lots of water to Sahara Desert.
Perhaps new peace deal with Morocco and Israel will lead to greening of Sahara desert.
And it seems to me it possible that with greening of desert, this could lead to less hurricanes in the Atlantic ocean- though perhaps significantly less fertilization to Brazil.

December 11, 2020 1:35 pm

Studies such as this probe the limits of human dishonesty.
Those limits are impressively wide, a horizon at apparently infinite distance.
But they are being probed none the less.
Although it’s evil, one can’t but feel a sense of awe.

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 11, 2020 1:43 pm

You can’t not admire them: they have been really creative in finding reasons why increasing CO2 fertilisation is still bad.

Bruce Cobb
December 11, 2020 1:54 pm

You can’t stop Greenie Downer!

December 11, 2020 1:55 pm

I find the topic of spontaneous nonlinear pattern formation to be irresistably compelling.
The region of Hopf bifurcation at the initial onset of chaos is the interesting part of chaos where pattern formation arises. By contrast full-blown chaos and high dimensional turbulence are not so fecund of form and pattern.

One of the most amusing aspects of chaos is watch the contortions that people perform to try to hide themselves from the existence of chaos and related phenomena, fearing (rightly) that it will burst the bubble of all their pet theories in La La Linearland that exists in computer models but almost nowhere on earth.

One of the places where emergent pattern is visible is the edge of desert. This is the edge of where plant life can exist, the boundary between life and death. Here you get the predictable emergence of Turing patterns with grasses spontaneously forming clumps as in these images.

https://images.app.goo.gl/FCqs6q47ddGAh6C48

https://images.app.goo.gl/fFChYtsjb5PMTJtT8

https://images.app.goo.gl/pqh47mdS7cxvmPRL6

CO2 of course will affect where this boundary lies. Already Saharan regions of previous desert are greening over, much to the enragement of the Khmer Vert. Deserts turn to grasslands and grasslands to forest.

Your reaction to the greening desert from CO2 increase says what kind of a human being you are.
Either you love it or you hate it.

Bill Parsons
December 11, 2020 2:09 pm

The claim is that terrestrial land sinks will gradually fill as trees lose their capacity to draw more from fertilization from soils and moisture from the air. Amazon rainforests stand in opposition to these claims don’t they? At 55 million years old and counting they generate their own clouds and moisture (hence their name), and have managed to persevere in the face of nutrient-poor soils. Natural forces tend to replace what is lost.

This latest “science” from the AGW-ers is good news. Their weak claim is clear acknowledgment that the greening of the Earth is occuring and its effects are universally beneficial.

Climate believer
December 11, 2020 2:25 pm

In the 21st century people became so scared of the sky gods wrath, that they started sacrificing people who were deemed heavy breathers in a seemingly vain attempt at appeasement. Such was the delusion.

The climatocene carboniferous was thankfully a relatively short period in human history.

Tom Abbott
December 11, 2020 3:16 pm

From the article: ““We have found that plants slow down their growth, not only in times of drought, but also when there are changes in the seasonality of rainfall, which is increasingly happening with climate change,”

Nothing is increasingly happening with [Human-caused] climate change because there is no evidence establishing Human-caused Climate Change exists, therefore it can’t be causing anything to be happening increasingly.

You have to establish that something exists before you can establish that it is having an effect. Saying climate change is having an effect when you haven’t established that it exists, is not science.

Every study that includes climate change has some wild, unsubstantiated claim like this. It’s pathetic the amount of misinformation that is put out about Human-caused Climate Change by supposedly reputable scientists.

A reputable scientist should have some basis for making claims. Climate scientists make wild claim based on nothing but speculation.

Alarmist Climate Science has been totally corrupted by greed and groupthink.

stinkerp
December 11, 2020 3:28 pm

To reach this conclusion, the team based itself on data obtained from hundreds of forests studied over the last 40 years. “These data show that concentrations of essential nutrients in the leaves, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, have also progressively decreased since 1990”.

I don’t have access to the study to find the database(s) they referenced. I suspect data torture and confirmation bias. I have a hard time believing there is enough high quality data over 40 years, both temporally and spatially, to make that claim. Anyone up for debunking this one?

Reply to  stinkerp
December 11, 2020 5:37 pm

As I mentioned above, the original article is available on Sci-Hub here

w.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  stinkerp
December 12, 2020 9:32 am

Thanks Willis
I looked at the paper, it can be summed up in one sentence.

We won’t let CO2 greening stop our climate alarmist power-grab.

RockyRoad
December 11, 2020 4:23 pm

Lack of water? There’s oceans of it.
Lack of nutrients? There’s continents of it.
These clowns are trying to force the narrative toward sequestration of CO2 and shutting down fossil fuels, which would devastate earth’s economy.
It sounds like they’re playing into the hands of the Great Reset right on cue!

John Sandhofner
December 11, 2020 5:32 pm

“This has very important climate implications that must be taken into account” That is if you believe that CO2 the big boogyman the environmentalist claim it is. There is too much evidence to suggest nature has a way of handling the on-going increase in CO2. The study of climate is a very complex and in reality we probably will never fully understand it. One more attempt for man to take their turn at building a modern day Towel of Babel.

Joseph Zorzin
December 11, 2020 5:32 pm

Even if it’s true that the trees will not grow much faster at some point due to increased CO2 (and I don’t believe that)- with better forest management- the trees WILL grow faster- that’s a fact that I can attest to after almost half a century of being a professional forester- because with proper thinning- we remove slow growing, unhealthy trees.

gringojay
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 11, 2020 6:37 pm

Faster growing kinds trees are not known for more dense wood than the kinds of slow growing trees & as such proportionately hold less carbon. In the Amazon west the trees are of the significantly faster growing kinds partial to more light than dominant slow growing trees in the eastern Amazon.

And, since the 1980s, researchers have collected a data trend of increasing bio-mass mortality in the Amazon which is not blamed on people. The faster growing trees die more quickly & on the ground their carbon is tied up in the tree dead matter for quite awhile; making it so that there is more carbon in the dead litter than in the standing fast growing tree sector.

Casual observation might mistakenly assume the whole sector is thriving since see fresh stems in small areas, but the actual number of stems won’t be higher. Those fast growing Amazon tree’s bases will be down in size & there will be a lot more vines (elevated CO2, by the way, significantly favors vine growth).

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  gringojay
December 12, 2020 4:02 am

“Faster growing kinds trees are not known for more dense wood than the kinds of slow growing trees & as such proportionately hold less carbon.”

I’ll focus- here in the American northeast- if we compare the rate of growth of white pine to say, poplar, white and grey birches, red maple, hemlock and others- the pine will grow far faster and put on more weight of carbon. So, with intelligent management- foresters can leave more pine on the site and remove those slower growing species. White pine is also more valuable than those other species so it’s a twofer. Another example- leaving red oak compared to those and other species: the oak may not grow faster but it’ll live longer and is less likely to have internal decay which loses carbon. So, my suggestion that with good forestry- we can have more carbon in the forests AND more economic value which is necessary for private forest owners to retain their woodlands as woodlands- rather than selling to developers, or God forbid, to install industrial sized solar “farm” which utterly destroy the forest! Every region will be different- but experienced foresters can factor in a desire to increase carbon in the forest while also considering economics. We aren’t going to dedicate all the forests on the planet to just carbon storage, though there are some people who want that. Not gonna happen.

Editor
December 11, 2020 5:41 pm

And with no less than 36 authors, this confirms Willis’s Rule of Authorship, which states:

V ≈ 1/A2

where V is the scientific value of the study, and A is the number of authors.

w.

Derg
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 11, 2020 6:11 pm

Ha

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 4:05 am

Good one. Here’s an example- as a forester, I recently read a peer reviewed paper that said the largest 1% of trees in a forest have half the biomass. That’s absurd. It had 99 coauthors! When I bitch about that paper, some people say, “but it has a 99 coauthors- so it must be right!”

LearDog
December 11, 2020 6:04 pm

I would be curious to know what the authors think about the Carboniferous.

Sara
Reply to  LearDog
December 13, 2020 5:12 am

Ditto. Is a time machine available so that we could take those bozos back to that epoch and give them a tour?

Peter W
December 11, 2020 6:07 pm

Having dabbled in a little paleontology, seems to me I recall seeing that during the time of the dinosaurs ferns grew 30 feet tall. Think of what it took to feed a race of those monster dinosaurs, they never would have survived on our puny plant growth today. Turns out, CO2 levels were much higher back then.

I saw a study recently on the age of coal, and it showed that a great many of our current coal deposits date to the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs. Read about the devastation that extinction meteor caused. It leveled and charred forests worldwide, thereby creating the coal and removing the CO2 from our atmosphere.

One other problem with the above – adaptation. It took the plants a while to adapt to the lower CO2 levels, and it will take some time for full adaptation to significantly higher levels. I haven’t yet heard of significant increases in the height of ferns.

December 11, 2020 7:21 pm

I don’t think so.! The greenhouse effect hasn’t reached 1000 ppm like the greenhouses use.
There is more greening to come. This article must be from the CAGW people.
They don’t like any good/positive effects from CO2.

– JPP

Rory Forbes
Reply to  JON P PETERSON
December 11, 2020 8:40 pm

The positive effects of CO2 are an embarrassment and difficult to explain away … in exactly the same way the Medieval Warm Period was (hence the “Hockey Stick” graph). It’s just one of the steps to controlling the entire dialogue prescribed by Geo. Orwell … “”1984” and “Animal Farm” (for reference).

SAMURAI
December 11, 2020 11:23 pm

“The greening of the earth is approaching its limit.”

“ The stupidity of the earth is approaching its limit.”

There, fixed it….

Dreadnought
December 12, 2020 10:14 am

Even if this were true and you’re worried about, just plant a lot more trees where there is adequate water and nutrients – more greening and more sequestered CO2, a win-win for the bed-wetting eco-loons.

fred250
Reply to  Dreadnought
December 12, 2020 2:30 pm

“just plant a lot more trees ”

Nature is more than capable of doing that all on its own 🙂

Phil Salmon
December 12, 2020 10:52 am

The authors are terrified that CO2 greening will threaten their beloved climate warming. The paper’s all about defending their global warming from the perceived “danger” from greening.

They show no sign whatever of being able to contemplate the idea that greening of ecosystems such as desert might be a good thing. In the paper they use the ugly technical term “ forcing of terrestrial carbon sinks” to mean the enrichment of vitality of green plants. It looks very much like a death cult. Looking at life they see only death.

Sara
December 13, 2020 5:22 am

I’m confused about something.

This “paper” indicates a baseless phobia about CO2, with the notion that plants can only absorb “just so much” CO2 (hogwash), and yet I see constant physical evidence that contradicts that notion.

So my confusion stems from what seems to be a lack of real-time observations OUTSIDE THE CONFOUNDED LAB/BUILDING, and these people get paid to do this.

So, to clear up my confusion, does anyone besides me have an idea how to prove to the money-grubbers that they are wrong, without stirring up a civil war?

Oh, wait – maybe we should do just that?

Has anyone ever really measured the O2 volume in a dense forest or jungle area, and then compared it to outside that spot, where vegetation is thinner? Or would that be too hard?

Phil Salmon
December 13, 2020 6:40 am

Not only is CO2 an unmitigated benefit to the biosphere through plant greening:

https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/co2-fertilisation-and-the-greening-of-the-sahara/

as shown in the record global harvest of 2019-2020:

https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/10/24/world-wheat-crop-heads-for-new-record/

It also turns out that rising CO2 perhaps unexpectedly increases the oxygenation of the deepest ocean:

https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/atmospheric-co2-is-good-for-the-deep-ocean/

Protecting against the danger of ocean anoxia, the cause of the most deadly mass extinctions such as the end-Permian, which was associated with low, not high, CO2.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep43630

https://notrickszone.com/2018/05/28/2-new-papers-permian-mass-extinction-coincided-with-global-cooling-falling-sea-levels-and-low-co2/

December 13, 2020 9:35 am

https://twitter.com/aaronshem/status/1126891477857198081

The thing is that there are positive feedbacks in that the increased CO2 also improves the health of soils. There is a positive feedback and that as plants demand less resources to ensure good chances of survival and procreation, they share more resources (particularly water and sugars) with symbiotic organisms like fungi and bacteria in soil. This improves the ability of soil to be resilient in regards to heat and water. The soils are better at retaining water, and the bacteria and fungi actually increase the availability of bio-available nitrogen and phosphorus. The weak link is availability of phosphorus to convert to a bio-available form. But there are only hints of limits in certain parts of the Amazon. Most likely what is actually happening is confusion of effects of changes in El Niño with limits to production bio-available phosphorus.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  aaron
December 13, 2020 11:06 am

Good point – soil health is also benefitted by CO2.

December 13, 2020 9:42 am

It’s a good thing that CO2 and warming increase both the availability of water and other nutrients.

The thing is that there are positive feedbacks in that the increased CO2 also improves the health of soils. There is a positive feedback and that as plants demand less resources to ensure good chances of survival and procreation, they share more resources (particularly water and sugars) with symbiotic organisms like fungi and bacteria in soil. This improves the ability of soil to be resilient in regards to heat and water. The soils are better at retaining water, and the bacteria and fungi actually increase the availability of bio-available nitrogen and phosphorus. The weak link is availability of phosphorus to convert to a bio-available form. But there are only hints of limits in certain parts of the Amazon. Most likely what is actually happening is confusion of effects of changes in El Niño with limits to production bio-available phosphorus.

https://twitter.com/aaronshem/status/1126891477857198081

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