Study recalibrates trees' carbon uptake

Finding, based on using heavy oxygen as a photosynthetic yardstick, could alter climate projections.

By Janet Raloff, 13:28 PM October 5, 2011

Photosynthesis appears to be somewhat speedier than conventional wisdom had suggested, a new study finds.  If true, this could mean that computer projections are at risk of overestimating the potential for forests to sop up carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

The new study did not measure photosynthesis directly. It instead deduced photosynthetic rates from subtle variations in the molecular weight of carbon dioxide molecules in air. Samples had been collected from across the globe duri...

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