Improving the Climate in the Grasslands in Tibet

This past week, I found a really interesting article regarding global warming and the effect farming has on it. It was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a professor at the University of Gothenburg, Deliang Chen. What I learned from it was that the grassland farming in Tibet is very beneficial to counteracting the process of global warming. When farmers in Tibet have the longer growing periods and an increased amount of vegetation growth from the increased temperatures, farmers are able to grow more grassland. Because there is increased growth, there is increased evapotranspiration (which is the process where water is transferred to the atmosphere from the land by evaporation and transpiration of the plants and soil), which therefore leads to the air being more cooled by the water entering the atmosphere. This combats global warming and can lead to decreased temperatures in locally and globally. Chen said in the article “[The] results suggest that actions to restore native grasslands in degraded areas, roughly one-third of the [Tibetan] plateau, will both facilitate a sustainable ecological development in this region and bring local and global climate benefits.” Increasing the amount of grasslands in Tibet could be one factor that helps combat global warming not just in Tibet, but the entire world and this is a huge discovery for those interested in combating global warming!

In contrast to this, increased vegetation growth in the Arctic can actually add to the problem of global warming. This is because there is an increased heat transfer to the Arctic from lower latitudes when the growing periods are longer which leads to reduced ice and a faster rise in temperatures. I find it very interesting how two areas of the world are doing the same thing, but one is beneficial while the other is harmful. It would be interesting to look more into the effect of the different geographical locations on evapotranspiration. And to use that knowledge to see if there is a way to find certain areas of the world that should grow more in order to combat global warming. Although there is more research to be done in order for there to be hard evidence to suggest this is a steadfast way to fight global warming, it is exciting to think that this may be a gateway to finding a way to solve a huge global issue! I hope to continue to see news articles like this as the research continues!

Written by Kelby Johnson, ESLLC 2015-2016

Source:

University of Gothenburg. “More grasslands in Tibet could bring climate improvements.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150820082340.htm>.

Source:

University of Gothenburg. “More grasslands in Tibet could bring climate improvements.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150820082340.htm>.

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