Influence of Climate Change on Plant Respiration and Carbon Storage


Results of a modeling study by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory show that acclimation of plant respiration to changing temperature would affect the amount of carbon stored in terrestrial plants in a potentially warmer climate of the future. The amount of carbon stored in terrestrial plants in a warmer climate will depend, in part, on the effect of increasing temperature on the respiration of plant leaves. Past carbon cycle models predict a positive feedback on global warming through increased plant and soil respiration and less carbon storage in terrestrial plants. However, results of the ORNL modeling study show that if terrestrial carbon cycle models include acclimation of plant maintenance respiration to warming, the positive feedback effect on global warming is reduced compared to that predicted if there was no acclimation of the respiration.