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Researchers from the University of Minnesota in the US suggest that as the mean global temperature increases, respiration will also increase significantly.
Such increases may lower the future ability of global vegetation to offset carbon dioxide emissions caused by burning of fossil fuels.
"Plants both capture carbon dioxide and then release it by respiration. Changes to either of these processes in response to climate change have profound implications for how much ecosystems soak up carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels," said Chris Huntingford, lead author of the study.
The new findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, are based on the comprehensive GlobResp database, which is comprised of more than 10,000 measurements of carbon dioxide plant respiration from plant species around the globe.