Peat bog at the south end of Lake Solitude on a sunny summer day, near the summit of Mt. Sunapee in Newbury, New Hampshire.

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations globally affect photosynthesis of peat-forming mosses

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Peer-Reviewed Publication

UMEA UNIVERSITY

Jürgen Schleucher
IMAGE: JÜRGEN SCHLEUCHER PROFESSOR DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS UMEÅ UNIVERSITY view more  CREDIT: MATTIAS PETTERSSON

Scientists at Umeå University, Sweden, and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have developed ways to decipher effects of the CO2 rise during the past 100 years on metabolic fluxes of the key plant species in peatlands, mosses. Analyses of cellulose in peat cores collected by collaborating scientists working in five continents indicate that a CO2-driven increase in photosynthesis of mosses is strongly dependent on the water table, which may change the species composition of peat moss communities.

As human CO2 emissions continue, it is increasingly important to capture CO2 to mitigate the associated climate change. Peatlands are the largest soil carbon stores globally, but the impact of climate change on peatlands is still unknown. During the 20th century, global atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by nearly 50 per cent and further increases are inevitable according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, with severe consequences for humanity. So far, uptake of CO2 by the land biosphere has dampened the CO2 rise and prevented even more severe effects.

Although peatlands cover only three per cent of the global land surface, they store a third of the global soil carbon. Thus, uptake of CO2 by peat mosses is important, but little is known about how their physiology is affected by rising CO2 levels. To understand if peatlands will keep storing carbon and mitigate climate change in the future, the scientists investigated peat mosses’ responses to the increase in atmospheric CO2.

For the study, collaborating researchers from five continents collected peat cores from ten locations worldwide. In a novel use of nuclear magnetic resonance pectroscopy, distributions of the stable hydrogen isotope deuterium in cellulose of modern and century-old peat mosses were then compared. This allowed us to reconstruct changes in photosynthetic efficiency during the 20th century, by estimating the impact of photorespiration, a side reaction of photosynthesis.

“Photorespiration is critical for the carbon balance of plants because it reduces the efficiency of photosynthesis by up to 35 per cent, and it is suppressed by increasing CO2 but accelerated by increasing temperature,” says Jürgen Schleucher, Professor at Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Umeå University, Sweden.

The analysis revealed that increasing CO2 during the last 100 years has reduced photorespiration, which has probably boosted carbon storage in peatlands to date and dampened climate change. However, increasing atmospheric CO2 only reduced photorespiration in peatlands when water levels were intermediate, not when conditions were too wet or too dry. Unlike higher plants, mosses cannot transport water, so the water table level controls their moisture content, which affects their photosynthetic performance. So, models based on higher plants’ physiological responses cannot be applied.

That the effect of CO2 depends on the water table level can have major consequences for peatland species composition, as only mosses that grow at an intermediate distance from the water table level benefit from the higher atmospheric CO2 concentration. Moreover, changes in the peatlands’ water balance can strongly affect their future carbon balance as too wet or too dry conditions reduce peat mosses’ ability to scavenge carbon.

Although peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far, the changes have already had devastating effects. If human CO2 emissions are not strongly reduced, the atmospheric CO2 concentration will further increase by hundreds of ppm by 2100, and average global temperatures will rise several degrees C above pre-industrial levels. It is unclear how peatlands will be affected by this.

“To get a clearer picture of photorespiration’s importance for peat mosses and peat carbon accumulation, the next step is to transfer our data into tailored photosynthesis models to estimate global peatland carbon fluxes. Future CO2 levels, temperature rises, changes in precipitation and water table levels will all need to be considered to forecast peatlands’ fate in a changing climate,” says Jürgen Schleucher.


JOURNAL

Scientific Reports

DOI

10.1038/s41598-021-02953-1 

ARTICLE TITLE

Global CO2 fertilization of Sphagnum peat mosses via suppression of photorespiration during the 20th century

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

31-Dec-2021

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HenryP
January 14, 2022 2:09 am

ja. ja. Global greening is making the earth warmer.
What do you want? More green or less?

Global warming due to, ehhh,…. global greening! | Bread on the water

HenryP
Reply to  HenryP
January 14, 2022 2:19 am

Note that William Happer said that more CO2 is CAUSING more green…..
That fits into a narrative where heat trapped is by more greening.
Does anyone here still have contact with John Christy who initially alerted us to this?

Bryan A
Reply to  HenryP
January 14, 2022 5:25 am

For Peat’s sake we must control our sins on emission

Sara
Reply to  Bryan A
January 14, 2022 5:15 pm

Nah, Bryan: adopt the slogan “FRRT PROUDLY!” and wear green t-shirts around ecohippies!

Robert W Turner
Reply to  HenryP
January 14, 2022 4:09 pm

They don’t believe in glacial and interglacial cycles, or they are so brainwashed that they aren’t even aware we’re in an ice age.

fretslider
January 14, 2022 2:24 am

“As human CO2 emissions continue, it is increasingly important to capture CO2 to mitigate the associated climate change. “

No, it isn’t. Besides, it is well known that carbon capture does not work.

“The process involved in fixing carbon dioxide in porous basaltic ground requires filters and chemical solutions, which must then be heated to up to 900ºC to release the concentrated carbon dioxide, which means that, in practice, the machines used to fix the carbon dioxide could end up consuming around a quarter of the energy produced in the world by 2100.”

https://medium.com/enrique-dans/carbon-capture-is-a-great-idea-but-it-wont-solve-our-problems-615bf141fbfa

“peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far”

And yet

“Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds

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”

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

Climate science is money for old rope.

Bruce Cobb
January 14, 2022 2:25 am

Good grief. Carbon nonsense, and bucketloads of it. The sad thing is that Schleucher and his ilk get paid to produce this crap.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 14, 2022 9:01 pm

I totally agree…what an enormous waste of human resources over many decades thanks to AGW fear mongering. These scientists could actually be doing something useful for humanity rather than producing ever more useless rubbish. When will it ever end?

China must be laughing at the West’s waste of its talented minds.

Freddo
January 14, 2022 3:00 am

Of course a tailored model is needed: it allows you to skip the hard legwork and conclude “situation dire, more funding needed” without ever leaving the office.

Peta of Newark
January 14, 2022 3:35 am

magical thinking. Isn’t CO2 wonderful….

Mosses et all grow in places where other things don’t grow.e.g. On bare rock and increasingly on cement tiled roofs

These are places where the trace elements and micronutrients that they, in common with other ‘green growing things’ need, where the trace elements are in desperately short supply.
But it is the action of the mosses that they themselves increase that supply and they do it by retaining moisture in places it wouldn’t normally be found.
e.g. On bare rock surfaces and on roof tiles (and slates)
How they do it is very simple, the moisture they retain is encouraged to become acidic and that acid ‘eats’ or dissolves the rock or the roof tiles. Such things being composed of metal based compounds, are thus alkaline or basic in nature and susceptible to acid attack

(The alert reader will recognise that THAT is exactly what bacteria do in high-organic healthy soils – and will know what’s coming from me right here and now. So much so, I’m not even going to say the words)

The mosses are thus very brave little, not so little, in that they are in the very vanguard of feeding all life on this Earth. They are solubilising trace metallic elements and other nutrients and those nutrients have nothing else to do but escape the clutches of the mosses and go on to feed plants and bacteria elsewhere, anywhere and everywhere.

But meanwhile, inside Moss World clinging to a roof top, any extra food that comes along is greatly appreciated.
Now enter the words I promised not to utter and the mosses up on rooftops and bare rocks everywhere could not be better placed to receive.
Enter the Real cause of Global Greening (and Arctic ice melting) = dust generated by us humans.
i.e. Dust coming from cities, road traffic ##, from quarrying/mining, from ‘polluting chimneys’, brick works, cement kilns and steel works and especially not least, from agricultural tillage.
## Dust from car tyres (rubber) would be a truly epic fertiliser, being chock full of Sulphur as it is.

All the dust coming from those places will be, is in fact, rich in the trace elements that not only mosses need but also all plant and bacterial life.
Therein is your Global Greening and also probably what these muppets imagine they’ve found.

Lets round this off with the source of more Global Greening…(and the unspoken words)
Some while ago, a minutia & trivia miner disclosed to The World that, for every 24 hour period, some one billion fragments of (viral/bacterial) DNA descend upon every single one square metre of Planet Earth.
Seemed a lot to me at the time but then it dawned….

It dawned on me where all that shit is coming from – you guessed it – from farmland via the unspoken words.
The mechanism is insanely simple (these guys here haven’t the proverbial snowball’s chance of realising)
In a high organic soil, easily 95% plus of the ‘organic content’ is actually comprised bacteria – NOT bits of leaves stalks and twiggerry as many/all peeps imagine

All you have to do is leave bare soil lying about under almost any bright sun and you destroy those bacteria in the uncountable droves.
They are instantly dessicated and the sun (esp the UV) smashes up their dried out little corpses.
A lot of that results, because it happens in an Oxygen environment, results in huuuuge amounts of CO2 being produced but also broken little fragments of DNA will pick up on the slightest breeze and blow away – to hundreds, thousands and 10’s of thousands of miles and 10’s of thousands metres into the sky

But DNA is a protein and as such when it returns to the ground ( 1 billion pieces per square metre daily) that protein, containing Nitrogen and Sulphur as all proteins do, will be another epic fertiliser for plant and bacterial life = Global Greening

Am I managing to create a coherent and consistent picture yet?

edit to query – why doesn’t my (Firefox) spell checker see all the gaffes while I’m actually writing this shyte, why let me submit it, see the gaffes and then the editor sees yet more.
Computers eh. Infallible. How would we mange without them…….

edit #2. This IS epic…
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-2292886/Video-Peat-slippage-near-Meenbog-Wind-Farm-Donegal.html

Last edited 11 days ago by Peta of Newark
fretslider
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 14, 2022 3:47 am

“why doesn’t my (Firefox) spell checker see all the gaffes while I’m actually writing this shyte,”

I’m sure it does…

“It’s often tempting to speak about wokery as if it is an active and organised movement, with leaders and advocates. Of course, it has many propagandists in academia, publishing and journalism. But to my mind it is less an ideology consciously imposed upon us, and more an impersonal force that has spread insidiously and been ingested passively, with its ultimate symptoms being fear and self-imposed silence.

Wokery thrives on fear – spiked (spiked-online.com)

Last edited 11 days ago by fretslider
Mark ingraham
January 14, 2022 3:48 am

Website is literally libs.
Inventory is collapsing, diesel will be gone in six months.
Peak oil is so obvious that you’re just mocking yourself denying it.

[So, if we still have diesel in 6 months, will you stop your incessant trolling? -mod]

C3BFFEEC-98D7-401D-A438-ED923F0977A6.png
AWG
January 14, 2022 3:49 am

Its becoming less rare to see the cognitive dissonance in such compact juxtaposed contradictions:

As human CO2 emissions continue, it is increasingly important to capture CO2 to mitigate the associated climate change. Peatlands are the largest soil carbon stores globally, but the impact of climate change on peatlands is still unknown. 

The second statement is an admission that we have no idea what Climate Change will do to peatlands. But the first statement is we must do unnatural things such as capture CO2 to deal with something we have no idea what it does.

I also like the passive voice as if this mitigation is supposed to occur by means of magic.

Rolf H Carlsson
January 14, 2022 3:58 am

Isn’t it remarkable that someone pretending to be a serious researcher considers the atmosphere to be a closed system and that he has not heard of Henry’s law! What a jerk!

Joao Martins
January 14, 2022 4:07 am

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations globally affect photosynthesis of peat-forming mosses
That CAN BE a very TERRIBLE announcement!

I wonder what will be the deleterious effect of higher CO2 on the quality of Scotch whisky.

Sky King
January 14, 2022 4:44 am

For Pete’s sake! What are the effects on the peaty whiskey production?

fretslider
Reply to  Sky King
January 14, 2022 5:13 am

Article 16

Duane
January 14, 2022 5:03 am

What “severe effects”?

You mean the healthiest, happiest, best fed, safest, and wealthiest populations in the history of the human species?

Boy, gimme s’more of those “severe effects”!

SMH – these people have zero self-awareness!!!

Gregory Woods
January 14, 2022 5:11 am

Although peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far, the changes have already had devastating effects.

Alarmists keep repeating that, or words to that effect. But where is the evidence? Only generalizations….

AndyHce
Reply to  Gregory Woods
January 15, 2022 10:58 pm

devastating effects

Consider the vast waste of capital and resources, and large reductions in human freedom.

Tom
January 14, 2022 5:15 am

The very first sentence: “As human CO2 emissions continue, it is increasingly important to capture CO2 to mitigate the associated climate change.”

This makes it perfectly obvious that the author has no interest in facts. He simply wants to rant on his biases.

It’s likely that almost all of the so-called “fossil fuels” being burned today started their life as peat moss, or something similar. These fuels were produced at virtually all atmospheric levels of CO2 from the low hundreds to thousands of ppm. It’s also obvious that they formed all across the globe since that’s where they are found now.

So then, why should we spend trillions pumping CO2 from the air into confinement somewhere, in order to ‘mitigate’ CO2? That’s sheer nonsense.

Steve Keohane
Reply to  Tom
January 14, 2022 8:23 am

And then he goes on to say “ Peatlands are the largest soil carbon stores globally, but the impact of climate change on peatlands is still unknown.” He should have stopped there.

Hutches Hunches
Reply to  Steve Keohane
January 14, 2022 6:38 pm

You forgot about the “precautionary principle” This little doozy is the basis for Climate Alarmism. It simply states that If Global Warming is an Existential threat, we must take all precautions to prevent it. The corollary is that even if it’s wrong, it’s the right thing to do because fossil fuels are dirty and ucky and true civilization must learn to live without them. It’s been around for about 25 years, but the geniuses that came up with the threat have morphed it into a huge money making machine with government funding spigots wide open to continue funding it. Nevermind, that it is has never been proved to actually be a threat, but the fact that no one can disprove it means we have to put all our resources into keeping it at bay just in case…

Ron Long
January 14, 2022 6:08 am

Peat is the intermediate step between stinky swamps and buried coal. The Mesozoic, Age of Dinosaurs, is an excellent producer of coal deposits, and the CO2 level was much higher than today. So? The stupid dinosaurs farted themselves to extinction! Somebody stop Brandon before it’s too late. I am sorry for getting sidetracked.

bluecat57
January 14, 2022 6:12 am

And that is bad why? Isn’t peat DEAD plants? Don’t LIVING plants convert CO2 to oxygen? Mother Nature can take care of herself. If she doesn’t want humans messing with her she will eliminate the humans.

Lil-Mike
Reply to  bluecat57
January 14, 2022 9:26 am

Peat (the plant) is a living plant. It grows in wetlands. When it is overgrown and buried by the next generation, it dies. Since it dies and is buried in acidic swamplands, it doesn’t decompose, but is preserved as peat (the soil). When compressed, heated, over millions of years it becomes coal. Even as dry peat, it is used as a fuel.

bluecat57
Reply to  Lil-Mike
January 14, 2022 9:31 am

TILT

RevJay4
January 14, 2022 6:28 am

More blahblah on “climate something or another”. The “scientists” continue to produce blahblah about what the planet does naturally, and proclaim it is the fault of the current inhabitants, homo sapiens. Or something like that.
Basic facts, folks. The planet is gonna do what it is gonna do, mostly irregardless of what we do. Short of a complete nuke war, that is. The photosynthesis thingee is natural, for all living plants. If it weren’t there, there would be no plants.
CO2 as evil is just plain dumb. Unless ya can make a buck offa that angle, which a lot of folks have done. I just wish I’d been in on the scam from the beginning. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.
Just sayin’.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  RevJay4
January 14, 2022 1:01 pm

not trying to be a word nazi but “irregardless” isn’t a word. Regardless is what you mean

StephenP
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
January 14, 2022 11:39 pm

I think the word intended may have been irrespective.

Doonman
January 14, 2022 9:19 am

Moss grows where its wet. Who knew?

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Doonman
January 14, 2022 9:43 am

And up by the Arctic circle, a couple of extra non-freezing days in spring and fall can cause nearly double its growth….

mkelly
January 14, 2022 9:20 am

From post: “ nuclear magnetic resonance pectroscopy”.

Should that have been spectroscopy or is there really a pectroscopy?

john harmsworth
January 14, 2022 9:28 am

So what does this call for? A national day of mourning, or what? I guess it’s at least honest science, but it sure doesn’t get ’em out in the streets does it?

Mike Dubrasich
January 14, 2022 9:31 am

Although peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far, the changes have already had devastating effects. If human CO2 emissions are not strongly reduced, the atmospheric CO2 concentration will further increase by hundreds of ppm by 2100, and average global temperatures will rise several degrees C above pre-industrial levels. It is unclear how peatlands will be affected by this.

Devastating, just devastating! Oh the horror of it all. And the worst is yet to come. In a mere 77 years, temperatures will rise through the roof. Through the roof I tells ya. OMG OMG OMG OMG!

But according to bone fido qualified experts, including the peat whisperer who wrote these words, we ain’t got a clue how peat will be affected. Not a clue. Lost in the ozone. Shooting blanks. Stumped beyond stump town. 

So please send money. More money. All you’ve got. Fill my coffers. I need it; you don’t. I’m an expert peat whisperer, so there. Wakka wakka wakka.

H.R.
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
January 14, 2022 7:50 pm

The perfesser reminds me of The Music Man. There’s trouble in River City.


“Right here in River City.
Trouble with a capital “T”
And that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool peat!”

Bill Rocks
January 14, 2022 10:34 am

In other words: More research needed. Send money soon.

Smart Rock
January 14, 2022 11:19 am

Peat may be sequestering CO2 or it may not (the next step in their research will probably tell us it’s not because they will be using models instead of data). But if it is, how are you going to stop people digging it up and using it as fuel?

There are peat burning power stations in Ireland, Finland, Estonia, Russia and Rwanda. Although Ireland, being close to the leading edge of climate fashion trends, is in the process of closing theirs, probably without a clear idea of what will replace them.

Is peat a fossil fuel (bad!) or is it biomass (good!)?? Either way it emits a lot of CO2 because it has rather low calorific value. I briefly lived in a house in Scotland that was heated by a peat burning fireplace. Perhaps “heated” is the wrong word – I don’t recall feeling any warmth, just a lot of smoke and an occasional bit of dull red glow.

StephenP
Reply to  Smart Rock
January 15, 2022 12:07 am

In Somerset on the Levels up to the 1960s peat was cut in brick shapes and stacked in 8fft high hollow piles to dry out before being sold for burning.
I can concur that the speed of burning was slow and the amount of heat produced minimal.
I remember that people used to add a couple of peat bricks to a wood fire for the smell that was given off by the burning peat which was not unpleasant, a bit like burning apple wood logs.
The peat cutters then found a more profitable outlet for peat as garden compost, but this in turn is being wound down as planning permits expire.
The residual peat workings are flooded and are becoming wildlife reserves for waterfowl.
The read-beds which have grown up, ( back to the start of peat accumulation ), have become a spectacular site as a starling roost.
http://Www.avalonmarshes.org/the-avalon-marshes/wildlife/starling-spectacular/
In Ireland vast quantities of peat used to be burnt in power stations, but I don’t know if this still being done.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  StephenP
January 15, 2022 7:12 am

The UK Government is currently consulting on phasing out the use of peat in “the amateur horticultural sector”, ie gardening, since digging up the peat releases large amounts of CO2 from the peat bogs.

Time,( is it not?) for someone to investigate this area as a source of increasing atmospheric CO2 as presumably using peat for gardening goes on in many countries around the world and far outstrips the use for burning.

michael hart
January 14, 2022 1:26 pm

Hhmmmm..strongly reminiscent of the methods of the tree-molesters: ‘Today we will use this measurement as a proxy for something else, because it suits us to do so. We didn’t choose other proxies because we didn’t like them over the arbitrary range we chose to get some results we wanted.’

Bob
January 14, 2022 2:19 pm

I’m not sure what WUWT/Charles Rotter are up to posting the CAGW gospel on the WUWT site with no explanation, no critique, no explanation of where or why NASA is wrong or mis interpreting data but it is a dangerous game they are playing. I rely on WUWT and similar sites for correct information concerning CAGW. You have just taken my best arguments from me. I have always argued that I get my information from a respected and trusted site who truly follow the science not what is popular in the media. Now those who argue that CAGW is real and dangerous can say the same thing. They got it from WUWT so it must be true. You are making a big mistake.

Robert W Turner
January 14, 2022 4:10 pm

It takes a real Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the thawing peat bogs are a net sink of carbon.

Sara
January 14, 2022 5:13 pm

Let me see: peat mosses collect and store CO2, which should reduce the very thing The They are afraid of (CARBON!!!! Teh Horror!) and at some point, they may turn into fuel for cooking and heating, over a prolonged period of time, and this is bad?

Not sure I understand the writer’s POV, but what IS the actual harm in peat moss storing CO2?

Can anyone enlighten me? Anyone? Bueller?

ATheoK
January 14, 2022 10:56 pm

There are so many blatant falsehoods
e.g.,

Although peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far, the changes have already had devastating effects. If human CO2 emissions are not strongly reduced, the atmospheric CO2 concentration will further increase by hundreds of ppm by 2100, and average global temperatures will rise several degrees C above pre-industrial levels. It is unclear how peatlands will be affected by this.”

Many of the paragraphs string together multiple claims that are fanciful from the little data to which they actually have access.

The analysis revealed that increasing CO2 during the last 100 years has reduced photorespiration, which has probably boosted carbon storage in peatlands to date and dampened climate change.”

Meaning that they are guessing “carbon storage” and “dampened climate change”.

beng135
January 15, 2022 7:29 am

More make-work crap “science”. Note that the commie-propagandists always try to head-off criticism by usurping then continually repeating topics like “science” that they actually corrupt. “Follow the science” is their mantra while that’s exactly what they DON’T do.

Last edited 10 days ago by beng135
AndyHce
January 15, 2022 10:50 pm

lots of propaganda in that yarn

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