Increasing carbon in the atmosphere should have a positive effect on some plant growth. A long-term study of Harvard Forest, a research forest in Massachusetts, has found one of them: The trees are storing more carbon than they used to.
As reported here, that’s partly due to climate change, creating a small negative-feedback loop.
The study, published today in Ecological Monographs, reveals that the rate at which carbon is captured from the atmosphere at Harvard Forest nearly doubled between 1992 and 2015. The scientists attribute much of the increase in storage capacity to the growth of 100-year-old oak trees, still vigorously rebounding from colonial-era land clearing, intensive timber harvest, and the 1938 Hurricane — and bolstered more recently by increasing temperatures and a longer growing season due to climate change. Trees have also been growing faster due to regional increases in precipitation and atmospheric carbon dioxide, while decreases in atmospheric pollutants such as ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen have reduced forest stress.
This is just about the first negative-feedback loop I’ve seen attributed to climate change, as compared to all the horrifying positive-feedback loops such as less snow cover absorbing more heat, methane being released from melting permafrost, increased forest fires releasing more carbon and reducing arboreal carbon capture, etc.