[ASC-media] The world is getting wetter as it warms

Bruce.Wright at greenhouse.crc.org.au Bruce.Wright at greenhouse.crc.org.au
Sun May 9 15:47:58 EST 2004

CRC for Greenhouse Accounting media release
9 May 2004

                  The world is getting wetter as it warms

A  meeting  of  almost  100  greenhouse research scientists from throughout
Australia  has concluded that ? contrary to popular perceptions and despite
lower  rainfall in many regions ? the world is on average getting wetter as
it gets warmer through climate change.

In  a  Communiqué issued from the Annual Science Meeting of the Cooperative
Research  Centre  for  Greenhouse  Accounting, the scientists said that the
global  water  cycle  has  changed  in  response  to  greenhouse emissions.
"Rainfall,  on average, is increasing (though decreasing in some regions in
Australia and elsewhere)," they said in their Communiqué.

"The  CRC  for  Greenhouse  Accounting's  scientists  have  confirmed that,
contrary  to  widespread  expectations, potential evaporation from the soil
and land-based water bodies like lakes is decreasing in most places."

They  said  this  might  favour  long-lived,  woody  plants like trees over
shorter  lived plants, thereby changing habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity,
and  the flows of greenhouse gases. It had already been observed across the
world  that  trees  and  shrubs were increasing in what had previously been

The  scientists  said  that  changes  in  the quality of light reaching the
earth's  surface  from  the  sun  - a result of climate change - may affect
plant  growth  unpredictably.  Already,  scientists  from  the  Centre  had
established    that   increased   cloudiness   was   allowing   plants   to
photosynthesise more effectively.

In  the  Communiqué  the  scientists  said  that increased levels of carbon
dioxide  in  the  atmosphere  ? a major cause of climate change ? generally
leads  to  faster  growth  in plants. But in recent research they had found
that  plants  suffering  many  of the stresses that are common in Australia
either have not benefited or have fared worse as carbon dioxide levels have
been increased.

The  scientists  said  that  their  research had shown that Australia would
benefit  from  grasping  the  potential of forests, grasslands and farms to
absorb  more  greenhouse  gases  from  the  atmosphere. But without further
understanding  of earth systems and plant processes, any attempts to devise
strategies to minimise climate change or adapt to it would be inadequate.

Text of the Communiqué -

Bruce Wright
Communication Manager
CRC for Greenhouse Accounting
Ph: +61-2-6125 5593
Fax: +61-2-6125 5095
Bruce.Wright at greenhouse.crc.org.au

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