Plant Respiration in a Warmer World

Plant Respiration in a Warmer World


It has been estimated that, globally, plants release 60 gigatons of CO2 during the respiration process. Many studies have shown that an increase in global temperature will increase leaves respiration rates, which in turn will decrease carbon uptake and increase atmospheric CO2 concentration (contributing even more to higher global temperature).


The authors explore the influence of temperature acclimation of leaf respiration on simulated carbon dynamics and climate-carbon feedback. To do so, they performed two model runs, one with a temperature-dependent sensitivity to temperature and one with an empirical representation of the acclimation of leaf respiration to temperature change based on observations from plant warming experiments.


Acclimatation of leaf respiration has the potential to reduce the strength of the positive feedback between climate and carbon commonly found in coupled climate-carbon simulations. Consequently, the authors suggest that it should be incorporated into plant, ecosystem, and coupled climate-carbon simulations.


King AW, Gunderson CA, Post WM, Weston DJ, Wullschleger SD. Plant Respiration in a Warmer World. Science. 2006;312(5773):536 - 537. doi:10.1126/science.1114166.