Warming-Induced Greening Slows Warming at Third Pole


Warming at the Third Pole has increased vegetation growth that can, in turn, slow down warming.

The Third Pole has seen an increase in vegetation over the past three decades. This phenomenon, also known as "greening," may help slow rapid local warming, according to an invited review paper published in the inaugural issue of Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.

The review finds that CO2 fertilization is the main driver of greening on the global scale. However, in places with a lighter human footprint, such as the Third Pole, global warming is the main cause of greening. "This greening is likely to persist well into the future, because the optimum air temperature for ecosystem productivity is still well below the present-day growing-season air temperature at the Third Pole," said lead author PIAO Shilong, professor at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Prof. PIAO was invited to lead this comprehensive review of global vegetation change and its climate feedback covering the period from the 1980s to the present. Studying biosphere changes and their impacts is crucial for understanding and adapting to the dramatic changes taking place in the Earth system.

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