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Climate change impact on plants could be underestimated, says new study

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, along with 22 other institutions around the world, say that the blossoming of plants might be eight times faster than earlier models show.

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A study in the journal Nature reports that the impact of climate change on plants is underestimated. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Climate change's impact on plants was underestimated by previous investigations, says a new study.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, along with 22 other institutions around the world, say that the blossoming of plants might be eight times faster than earlier models show.

According to AFP, earlier artificial experiments are usually done by putting plants in a chamber or canopy near a heater that is meant to mimic rising temperatures.

Lead author Elizabeth Wolkovich and her colleagues looked at the flowering and leafing of plants on four continents involving over 1600 species.

Earlier studies found that the flowering and leafing happen between 1.9 and 3.3 days earlier for every one degree 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature increase, said AFP.

Yet, the new study says that plants, in fact, begin between 2.5 to five days earlier per 1.8 F.

"These findings have extensive consequences for predictions of species diversity, ecosystem services and global models of future change," said Elsa Cleland, an assistant professor of biology at UC San Diego and senior author of the study, according to Science Codex.

"Long-term records appear to be converging on a consistent average response to climate change, but future plant and ecosystem responses to warming may be much higher than previously estimated from experimental data."

The reasons for the earlier incorrect estimations could be reduced light, wind or soil moisture.

According to Reuters, scientists believe that global temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees since the beginning of the 20th century.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/science/120502/climate-change-impact-plants-could-be-underestimated-says-new-