Low relative humidity is much more stressful for plants in hot, dry weather conditions than lack of moisture in the soil. To such conclusion researchers from Indiana University.
A new study suggests that the models currently used by scientists to assess the impact of drought on ecosystems, it is necessary to clarify by giving more attention to the indicators of humidity. The authors of the study, the results of which were published in the journal Nature Climate Change, emphasize that in the future it will be of special importance in view of climate warming on the planet.
The lower humidity level, the researchers note, the efficiency of plants in terms of carbon uptake from the atmosphere will also be reduced. In result, the plants can not so effectively as it is today, to compensate for the negative climate change. At the same time, agricultural strategies such as irrigation to increase soil moisture, may become less effective in the future.
According to lead study author Professor Kimberly Novick, models of carbon uptake by plants in the future is highly uncertain as the scientific community lacks a clear understanding of how ecosystems react to droughts.
“Our work shows that the correct definition of how plants respond to changes in atmospheric humidity, is one way to reduce this uncertainty,” emphasizes Kimberly Novick.
Dry weather affects plants in two main ways: through changes in soil moisture and relative humidity. Kimberly Novick is considering this model as a classic economic model of supply and demand.
The plant receives moisture from the soil, but during a drought the soil can not provide the needs of plants in moisture. At low relative humidity in the atmosphere there is “demand”, through which moisture is extracted from plants