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A large international team of researchers has found evidence of a connection between an increase in the atmospheric vapor deficit and worldwide vegetation loss. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their analysis of climate datasets and the correlation of an increase in vapor pressure deficit (VPD) to loss of vegetation around the world over the past half-century.
Scientists have been studying the possible repercussions of global warming for several years, and suggest it is likely to lead not only to warmer temperatures, but also changes to weather patterns. One such weather change not often mentioned is VPD, which is the difference in air pressure due to water vapor during fully saturated times versus times when it unsaturated. When VPD is increasing, there is less water in the air. VPD is important because of its impact on plants. When VPD rises a certain amount, plants react by closing their stomata, the pores in their leaves, to prevent water loss. But this also shuts down the release of oxygen and the absorption of carbon dioxide—partially shutting down...
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