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Intensive farming changed midwest summer weather, says study

A grainfield, silo and barn complex is located in Richland County, Ohio. (Jeff Greenberg / UIG via Getty Images) The…

A grainfield, silo and barn complex is located in Richland County, Ohio.

(Jeff Greenberg / UIG via Getty Images)

  • The summers in the Midwest became cooler and the rain increased during the second half of the 1900s
  • With increased plant production, more moisture is pumped into the atmosphere, which helps to cool temperatures and increase rain.

Intensive farming methods that began during the second half of the 20th century changed summer weather in the Midwest, a study found.

According to the study published in 201

7 in geophysical research letters, the summers in the Midwest became cooler and the rain increased during the second half of the 20th century. Researchers with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth University assign weather change to a dramatic increase in crop yields such as soybeans and corn.

The study notes that average summer temperatures dropped as much as 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit and rainfall increased by 15 percent in the second half of the century.

Elfatih Eltahir, a co-author of the paper and Breene M. Kerr Professor of Hydrology and Climate at MIT, noted in a press release in February that the effects are “significant but small [19659000]”.

(MORE: Poland’s bizarre commitment at the climate conference causes controversy )

According to the study “breathe” the plants in the carbon dioxide are needed for photosynthesis by opening small pores called stomata. Each time the pores are open, moisture is lost in the atmosphere.

Increased yields resulting from denser plants with larger leaves yield more humidity in the atmosphere, which cools temperatures and increased precipitation.

Annual exchange of maize fourfold leaves between 1950 and 2009 and soybeans doubled thanks to improved seeds, fertilizers and other methods.

Changes in average summer temperature is displayed on this map with higher than average temperatures in red, lower than the average in blue. The analysis shows a very strong correlation between the areas with increased plant production, higher rain and lower temperatures.

(MIT)

“For some time, we have been interested in how land use changes can affect the climate,” says Eltahir. “It is an independent carbon dioxide emission problem. “

The researchers say that the models used in the study showed” a slight increase in precipitation, a temperature decrease and an increase in humidity. “Climate records confirmed their results.

Researchers say that research can provide local geotechnical engineering that can help reduce the impact of global warming on small scale regional grounds.

On the negative side, the intensification effect in the second half of the 20th century may have “masked” the real effects of global warming in recent decades.

Eltahir says that the team does not expect any further weather changes in the Midwest and notes that intensification was a “century fen Omen, and we do not expect anything like that in the 21st century. “

Roger Pielke Sr., a senior researcher at CIRES at the University of Colorado in Boulder, who was not involved in this work, called to study” excellent “and” really important. “

” The Climate Society Society’s leadership has not yet accepted that human land management is at least as important for regional and local climate as the addition of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of human activities, “he said, adding that” Professor Eltahir has been one of the pioneers to improve our knowledge of this scientific and societal important issue. “

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