Plants reveal a silver lining to pollution

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's a common assumption that plants grow best in clear sunny weather, but scientists say this isn't always the case. Research has shown that forests and crops can also thrive in hazy conditions because clouds and particles, that's right, pollution, in the atmosphere scatter sun light so that it bathes more leaves, enhancing photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn light and carbon dioxide into food. All this pollution we humans have created has dimmed the skies and this so-called global dimming actually increased plant productivity (in the photosynthetic way) by as much as a quarter from 1960 to 1999. That amounts to more than a ten percent increase in carbon dioxide storage, which is good! To help us see through the smog, Matt McGrath, BBC Science Correspondent, joins The Takeaway with this report.

Guests:

Matt McGrath

Hosted by:

Katherine Lanpher

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