Tue. Mar 9th, 2021

The Biosphere 2 project, run by the University of Arizona, maintains a replica of a humid tropical forest inside a glass dome in the middle of the desert outside Tucson. Inside, trees rise to a height of 17 meters (55 feet) amid artificially controlled climatic conditions. In this environment, scientists have analyzed just how resilient forests are under extreme temperature scenarios. The results, which may help inform fundamental strategies for the preservation of tropical forests in a changing climate, are published in a new study in the journal Nature Plants. For the experiment, the temperature inside the dome was cranked up to 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit). That’s 6°C (10.8°F) higher than the maximum temperature regularly recorded in the Amazon currently, and consistent with projections for global warming by the year 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace. The research was carried out by scientists from across the U.S. and several institutions in Brazil, including the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), the Federal University of Western Pará (UFOPA), the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) and the University of São Paulo (USP). In a glass dome, scientists reproduced the environment of the humid rainforest in the middle of the Arizona desert. Image courtesy of Marielle N. Smith. To measure the vegetation’s sensitivity to the climate scenario projected for the end of the century, the researchers looked at the photosynthesis capacity of the plants under increased temperatures. Up to 38°C (100°F), which is 10°C (18°F) warmer than the average…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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