Recent findings that suggest modern farm production could be having a major impact on global carbon cycles could greatly improve today’s climate models and improve forecasting.
A recent study showed that a big jump in food production to meet rising food demands from a burgeoning global population is responsible for as much as 25 percent of the seasonal increase in carbon dioxide (CO2), according to Economic Times.
Carbon dioxide is absorbed in the spring and summer as plants produce lots of solar-hungry leaves. Once the energy has been converted to food, it is released into the atmosphere as the leaves die off in the autumn and winter, producing big fluctuations in CO2 levels.
The Economic Times described the crops as a giant “sponge” for CO2, a sponge that is getting bigger and can release much more carbon dioxide than in the past. As global food productivity doubles in the coming decades, scientists may be better able to create accurate climate models with this new knowledge of the effects farms have on the environment.