Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Clim. Past, 16, 1509–1521, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1509-2020
Clim. Past, 16, 1509–1521, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1509-2020

Research article 20 Aug 2020

Research article | 20 Aug 2020

Elevated CO2, increased leaf-level productivity, and water-use efficiency during the early Miocene

Tammo Reichgelt et al.

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Latest update: 01 Dec 2021
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Short summary
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are increasing in the atmosphere. CO2 has a direct fertilization effect on plants, meaning that plants can photosynthesize more and create more biomass under higher atmospheric CO2. This paper outlines the first direct evidence of a carbon fertilization effect on plants in Earth's past from 23 × 106 yr old fossil leaves, when CO2 was higher. This allowed the biosphere to extend into areas that are currently too dry or too cold for forests.