Thursday, June 08, 2006

You Down with NPP?

More love from NASA on Net Primary Productivity (NPP).

Department of Energy jointly funded study concludes the Earth has been greening over the past 20 years. As climate changed, plants found it easier to grow.

NPP globally increased on average by 6% from 1982 to 1999. Ecosystems in tropical zones and in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere accounted for 80% of the increase. NPP increased significantly over 25% of the global vegetated area, but decreased over 7% of the area; illustrating how plants respond differently depending on regional climatic conditions.

Climatic changes, over approximately the past 20 years, tended to be in the direction of easing climatic limits to plant growth. In general, in areas where temperatures restricted plant growth, it became warmer; where sunlight was needed, clouds dissipated; and where it was too dry, it rained more. In the Amazon, plant growth was limited by sun blocking cloud cover, but the skies have become less cloudy. In India, where a billion people depend on rain, the monsoon was more dependable in the 1990s than in the 1980s.
If you take a look at the map (click on it for a larger version) it appears that the Amazon rainforest, Canada, India and Europe all gained significantly. Parts of Russia, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico look to be the losers. But, overall a good trend if you like life on earth and want more of it.

via NASA

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