Tropical Forests Could Get Too Hot For Photosynthesis Due To Climate Change, Says Study

According to a study, tropical forests may get so hot that some types of leaves won't be able to carry out photosynthesis.

Tropical Forests Could Get Too Hot For Photosynthesis Due To Climate Change, Says Study

Overheated trees lose the ability to produce energy in their leaves.

Climate change poses a wide range of dangers and risks that can have profound and far-reaching impacts on various aspects of our world. This complex and pressing issue poses numerous threats to the environment and human life.

A new study has brought attention to further climate change-related worries: tropical trees could face the risk of experiencing extremely high temperatures, leading to necrosis in their leaves. This could potentially result in extensive leaf mortality and even the halting of photosynthesis processes.

Tropical trees start experiencing a decline in the photosynthesis process at an average temperature of approximately 46.7 degrees Celsius. The study published in the journal Nature indicates that forests are approaching critical temperature thresholds sooner than initially anticipated.

Although this temperature might appear elevated, it's important to note that leaves can become significantly hotter than the surrounding air temperature. This observation comes from a collective of researchers hailing from countries such as the United States, Australia, and Brazil who conducted this study.

The scientists used temperature data beamed down from thermal satellite sensors on the International Space Station, 400 kilometres (nearly 250 miles) above the Earth. They combined this with on-the-ground observations from leaf-warming experiments, in which scientists climbed into the canopy to painstakingly add sensors to leaves, reported CNN, citing the published study.

The authors of the study mentioned that the combination of climate change and local deforestation may already be placing the hottest tropical forest regions close to, or even beyond, a critical thermal threshold. Therefore, our results suggest that the combination of ambitious climate change mitigation goals and reduced deforestation can ensure that these important realms of carbon, water, and biodiversity stay below thermally critical thresholds.