Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: Reducing Its Own Greenhouse Effect
Shevliakova, E., Stouffer, R.J., Malyshev, S., Krasting, J.P., Hurtt, G.C. and Pacala, S.W. 2013. Historical warming reduced due to enhanced land carbon uptake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110: 16,730-16,735.
In light of these facts, the question Shevliakova et al. address in their study of the subject is how much higher the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere would now be without the help of the vegetation-promoting fertilization effect of the historical increase in the air's CO2 content having helped Earth's plants remove an ever-increasing amount of CO2 from the atmosphere with each passing year, plus how much higher the current mean temperature of the globe might otherwise have been at the time of their writing.
By using the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory's comprehensive Earth System Model ESM2G and a reconstruction of historical land-use change, the six scientists were able to deduce that historical CO2-enhanced vegetative growth "lowered the historical atmospheric CO2 concentration by fully 85 ppm," thereby avoiding what they calculate to be "an additional 0.31 ± 0.06°C warming," which is a rather impressive feat for the biosphere.
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