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Climate Change's Impact on Drought Lesser Than Expected, Study Says

Sep 01, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Contrary to popular belief, a new study reveals that the impact of climate change on drought is lesser than expected. 

According to Science Daily, climate change is always the main suspect in almost every natural disaster on Earth as well as global warming. Now that drought is happening in the Southwestern U.S., there are fears that climate change will worsen the dry spell that has already been frequent and longer in the recent years.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans pose another problem. But how will this affect the water supply?

Researchers attempted to answer this question in a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington. It turns out that water that's being saved by plants that were exposed to higher carbon dioxide conditions can still be returned. This means that there's a possibility that there's more water on land even in high temperatures, which is contrary to the predicted outcome of drought assessments.

The same study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that the findings change the prior belief regarding the impact of climate change to wildlife, plant growth, water resources and agriculture.

Phys.Org reports that some studies estimate that the Earth will experience 70 percent more drought. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere has already quadrupled. However, when the plants' water need was checked, it only falls to a mere 37 percent despite the drought increase. How did that happen, you say?

Plants actually benefit from carbon dioxide as it helps them have more molecules for their carbon-rich bodies. Through the plant's stomata -- tiny openings that are found in the cover of leaves -- carbon dioxide goes in and lets out moisture. But if there are more carbon dioxide, the stomata are not required to open too long. Thus, plants will lose less water and will only get less from the soil through their roots.

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