Scientists Andrew Elmore and David Nelson were awarded $653,018 from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a three-year project to use satellite data to find out how the growth rate of trees in a longer growing season is impacting the environment.
"If trees are growing faster, than they are taking more carbon out of the atmosphere," said Dr. Andrew Elmore. "That's a good thing for global warming."
Previous studies have shown that the growing season--the length of time between when the leaves on trees turn green in the spring and turn colors in the fall--is growing longer. However, it's unclear whether the trees themselves are growing faster and taking more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and cleaning the air.
This study will use satellite pictures of forests on the East Coast and the Mid-Atlantic, as well as data collected from airplanes and on the ground from tree core samples, to determine how trees are responding to this longer growing season, and how individual trees may be contributing the bigger picture.
The research proposal, "Assessing the influence of local phenology on the response of forest productivity to changes in growing season length," was funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Earth Science Division and was one of 15 winning proposals out of 107 submissions.
Provided by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.