Water Use by Plant Life to Make Less Water Available for Humans

Nov 07 16:11 2019 Print This Article

A new study from Dartmouth College has found that consumption of water by plant life will increase in the future due to climate change, making water less available for people living in North America and Eurasia.

The research suggests a drier future despite anticipated precipitation increases for places like the United States and Europe, populous regions already facing water stresses.

Published in Nature Geoscience, Mid-latitude freshwater availability reduced by projected vegetation responses to climate change, challenges the thought that plants will make the world wetter in the future. In the past, scientists have thought that as carbon dioxide concentrations increase in the atmosphere, plants will reduce their water consumption, leaving more freshwater available in soils and streams. This is because as more carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere plants can photosynthesize the same amount while partly closing the pores (stomata) on their leaves. Closed stomata means less plant water loss to the atmosphere, increasing water in the land.

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