Engineering plants to help fight climate change Today’s Video of the Day from the Salk Institute describes the discovery of a gene that determines how far plant roots will grow into the soil.
The findings will help experts develop plants to combat climate change as part of Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to create plants with stronger and deeper roots that can store more carbon underground.
“We are incredibly excited about this first discovery on the road to realizing the goals of the Harnessing Plants Initiative,” said study senior author Professor Wolfgang Busch. “Reducing atmospheric CO2 levels is one of the great challenges of our time, and it is personally very meaningful to me to be working toward a solution.”
The climate system beams energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth’s energy allocate. When the approcaging energy is greater than the outgoing energy, Earth’s energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and Earth experiences cooling.
The energy entering through Earth’s climate system finds expression in weather, varying on geographic scales and time. Long-term averages and variability of weather in a region constitute the region’s climate. Such changes can be the result of “internal variability”, when natural processes inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter the distribution of energy. Examples include variability in ocean basins such as the Pacific decadal oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Climate variability can also result from external forcing, when events outside of the climate system’s components nonetheless produce changes within the system. Examples include changes in solar output and volcanism.
The study is published in the journal Cell.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: Salk Institute