Early Forests Did Not Significantly Change the Atmospheric CO2

University of Nottingham
December 20, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Scientists have discovered that the atmosphere contained far less CO2 than previously thought when forests emerged on our planet. …Before forests developed (385 million years ago) the earth was covered by shallow shrub-like plants with vascular tissue, stems, shallow roots, and no flowers. … Textbooks tell us that the atmosphere at that time had far higher CO2 levels than today and that an intense greenhouse effect led to a much warmer climate. The emergence of forests was previously thought to promote CO2 removal from the atmosphere… The new study suggests that trees actually play an insignificant role on atmospheric CO2 levels over longer time scales …This idea goes against previous thinking that trees promoted CO2 removal through enhanced chemical weathering and dissolution of silicate rocks. Earth system models were used to show that primitive shrub-like vascular plants could have caused a massive decline in atmospheric CO2 earlier in history…

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