The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere see a drastic drop in the Northern Hemisphere each year. It’s a widely known fact that plants inhale carbon dioxide in summers, and they exhale it in the season when they grow. In the last 50 years, this phenomena of such seasonal swings in the levels of carbon dioxide has increased around half. A team of researchers have stated that the agricultural produce generates as much as a quarter of this increase in the seasonal cycle. There are four crops, which cause this, however the corn crop has a major role to play in the process of disturbing global temperatures.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. “This study shows the power of modeling and data mining in addressing potential sources contributing to seasonal changes in carbon dioxide. It points to the role of basic research in finding answers to complex problems,” says Liz Blood, the program director of the National Science Foundation’s Macro Systems Biology Program.
A senior paper author, scientist Mark Freidl of Boston University says, “In the Northern Hemisphere, there’s a strong seasonal cycle of vegetation, Something is changing about this cycle. Ecosystems are becoming more productive, pulling in more atmospheric carbon during the summer and releasing more during the dormant period.” The study was published in the journal Nature.
This annual change is attributed to the effects of rising temperatures. The scientists have gathered the statistics of global production and cultivation figures. Four leading crops are corn, wheat, rice and soybeans; these crops together represent about 64 percent of all calories consumed worldwide. The scientists have also discovered that the production of these crops in the Northern Hemisphere has more than doubled since, as a result of which a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide is captured and released annually.