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According to a new study, some leaves in tropical rainforests in South America and South East Asia. Are becoming so heated that they may no longer be able to photosynthesize, which might have serious effects on the world’s forests.

When leaves reach a temperature of about 46.7 degrees Celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit), their capacity to photosynthesize—the process by which they create energy from carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water—begins to falter.

The paper, written by a team of experts from the US, Australia, and Brazil, was publish in Nature on Wednesday. While this may seem high, leaves can reach considerably higher than the ambient temperature.

The researchers used temperature information transmitted from thermal satellite sensors located 400 kilometers (roughly 250 miles) above Earth on the International Space Station. They complemented this with ground-based findings from trials involving leaf warming, when researchers scaled the canopy to meticulously attach sensors to leaves.

According to Christopher Doughty, an author of the research and an associate professor of ecoinformatics at Northern Arizona University, the scientists were examining severe temperatures rather than normal temperatures. They discovered that while the average forest canopy temperature peaked at 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), some measurements went as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to the findings, only 0.01% of leaves are currently over the crucial temperature level beyond which their capacity to photosynthesize degrades, potentially destroying both the leaf and the tree.

tropical rainforests

This percentage, albeit tiny, is predict to rise as global temperatures rise, according to the paper, endangering the world’s tropical forests, which cover about 12% of the earth and are home to more than half of all species. They also have a crucial function in absorbing and storing carbon, which helps to control the climate on a worldwide scale.

On a conference call with reporters, Doughty stated, “There are all kinds of potential feedbacks once you start losing bits of forests, even leaves on individual trees.”

Read More: East was driven by the weather Devastating wildfires in Canada are now twice as likely due to climate change.



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