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Global photosynthesis accelerates, according to finding in Nature

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April 05, 2017 Share This!

  • Researchers used data from Antarctica to learn about photosynthesis globally.
    Courtesy of NASA and UC — Merced

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The rate of plant photosynthesis globally has blossomed in the last century, according to a study released today by the journal Nature.

The new data about photosynthesis comes from an unlikely source — the chemical record of a rare gas locked in different layers of snow in Antarctica. The levels of carbonyl sulfide, a molecule given off by decaying organic matter, provide a chemical record of global photosynthesis spanning hundreds of years.

Scientist Steven J. Smith of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland, is one author of the study, which was led by Elliott Campbell of the University of California at Merced.

The team's analysis showed that plants on Earth are growing at a faster rate than at any other time in the past 50,000 years.

For more information, see the UC — Merced news release or the article today in The New York Times.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Fundamental Science, Biomass, Climate Science, Atmospheric Science

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