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Summer dryness in northern mid-latitudes due to increased CO2


Numerical simulations indicate that increases in atmospheric CO2 (and trace gases) could lead to increased summer dry ness of the land surface in northern middle and high latitudes with potentially serious consequences for agriculture (refs 1–5 and M. E. Schlesinger, personal communication). Not all studies support this view, and the validity of the early results has been questioned6,7. We have investigated the dependence of the original finding on the representation of the land surface. We find that the magnitude of the simulated summer drying is dependent on the physical attributes of the soil, and in certain regions can be reduced or even reversed by an alternative, but equally plausible, treatment of run-off over frozen ground.

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Mitchell, J., Warrilow, D. Summer dryness in northern mid-latitudes due to increased CO2. Nature 330, 238–240 (1987).

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