Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology: More heat waves may increase CO2 concentration: Iitm study | Pune News


PUNE: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have found that heat waves in India are increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the predicted increase in its frequency in the world could increase atmospheric CO2 concentration on a global scale.
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) scientist Dr Yogesh K Tiwari told TOI: “Extreme heat can close tiny pores found on plant leaves and stems, which help absorb CO2. (carbon dioxide) emitted by human activities. This causes an increase in levels of this gas in the atmosphere.
He said this was more pronounced during periods of heat waves, when high demand for electricity could lead to increased burning of fossil fuels (a source of CO2) for higher electricity production. CO2 is the most dangerous and widespread greenhouse gas, known to warm the planet and the oceans. Greenhouse gases can cause climate change and trap heat near the earth’s surface. This trapped heat can have a variety of impacts on the climate, including increased temperature, melting ice caps, and rising ocean levels, among others.
The scientists said that the increase in temperature above 36°C, such as those observed during heat waves, tends to push the ecosystem to act as a source of carbon dioxide. “Satellite observed that the CO2 concentration was elevated by 2-3 parts per million (ppm) during heatwave conditions compared to non-heatwave periods, which is very significant,” he said.
Add to this additional cases of fossil fuel combustion during heat waves, the biosphere then tends to become a source of more CO2 instead of absorbing the gas or remaining neutral. “In a global warming scenario, the concentration of CO2 is continuously increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities. If other heat waves, like the ones we experienced this summer, continue to occur simultaneously, the biosphere will be unable to absorb CO2 generated by human activities and it will continue to persist in the atmosphere.The result will be a higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the air,” said Dr Tiwari.
The observed seasonality in CO2 concentration in India peaked during the months of March to May, according to the study. IITM scientist Supriyo Chakraborty said: “These months usually see intense heat waves in India.”
The study was recently published in Springer’s international journal Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics.
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