Research: Link between increased atmospheric vapor deficit and worldwide loss of vegetation

dead forest
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A large international team of researchers has found evidence of a connection between an increase in the atmospheric vapor deficit and worldwide vegetation loss. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their analysis of climate datasets and the correlation of an increase in vapor pressure deficit (VPD) to loss of vegetation around the world over the past half-century.

Scientists have been studying the possible repercussions of global warming for several years, and suggest it is likely to lead not only to , but also changes to . One such weather change not often mentioned is VPD, which is the difference in air pressure due to during fully saturated times versus times when it unsaturated. When VPD is increasing, there is less water in the air. VPD is important because of its impact on plants. When VPD rises a certain amount, plants react by closing their stomata, the pores in their leaves, to prevent water loss. But this also shuts down the release of oxygen and the absorption of carbon dioxide—partially shutting down photosynthesis and slowing growth. In this new effort, the researchers wondered if there might be a connection between observed losses of vegetation worldwide and changes to VPD in some parts of the world.

To find out, the researchers obtained datasets that included observation information from across the globe going all the way back to the 1950s. When focusing on VPD, they found that prior to the 1990s, VPD increased only slightly. But after 1998, the VPD grew quite dramatically—by up to 17 times over the next several years in some places, and it remained at those levels. They also found that over half of all vegetated land on the planet experienced a rise in VPD. The researchers also found that the upswing in VPD occurred in lockstep with the rise in and the decrease in worldwide vegetative cover. They suggest that is pushing VPD ever higher, resulting in more loss of vegetation—and because the planet is growing hotter, they predict that VPD will continue to increase, as well, resulting in diminishing vegetative cover.


Explore further

How plants are working hard for the planet

More information: Wenping Yuan et al. Increased atmospheric vapor pressure deficit reduces global vegetation growth, Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1396
Journal information: Science Advances

© 2019 Science X Network

Citation: Research: Link between increased atmospheric vapor deficit and worldwide loss of vegetation (2019, August 15) retrieved 23 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-08-link-atmospheric-vapor-deficit-worldwide.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
995 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Aug 15, 2019
I have a wonderful testimony to share to the whole world on how Papa Egbe used his herbal product on me, I have been affected with HSV for 6 years and I might papa Egbe through a testimony shared by someone online and told my self let me give him a try and visiting many hospitals and herb home for cure and so lucky for me he did a wonderful job on me and the virus I have had for 6 years was completely cured, thank to Papa Egbe for making me healthy again. What are your infection is it
Hepatitis ABC.
HIV and Aids.
HSV 1&2.
Cancer of any kinds.
Diabetes.
Genital wart.
Unable to get pregnant.
Miscarriage.
Weak erection.
Kidney.
Heart disease.
Any infection.
Ex lover back.
Court Case.
Relationships problem.
Lottery spell.
Contact him now for a cure via email papaegbespiritualtemple @ gmail . com, with your infection listed and not listed, for Natural Remedies.

Aug 16, 2019
"One such weather change not often mentioned is VPD, which is the difference in air pressure due to water vapor during fully saturated times versus times when it (is) unsaturated. When VPD is increasing, there is less water in the air."

Correct me if my memory is wrong. About 25 years ago, the expectation was that carbon dioxide would raise the world's temperature enough to cause much more water evaporation - ie - water vapor into the atmosphere. Water vapor is 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

This added water vapor would be the cause of uncontrollable runaway global warming, a positive feedback effect. If there's less water in the air (VDP increasing) then that cuts down the greenhouse effect, slowing down global warming/climate change. Less feedback - great -- less oxygen - not so great.....

Aug 18, 2019
What complete BS. The world is greener than ever due to increased CO2.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more