Plant Productivity in a Warming World

The past decade is the warmest on record since instrumental measurements began in the 1880s. Previous research suggested that in the '80s and '90s, warmer global temperatures and higher levels of precipitation — factors associated with climate change — were generally good for plant productivity. An updated analysis published this week in Science indicates that as temperatures have continued to rise, the benefits to plants are now overwhelmed by longer and more frequent droughts. High-resolution data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, indicate a net decrease in NPP from 2000-2009, as compared to the previous two decades.

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)


Megan Willy (IRC/UMBC): Lead Animator
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Michelle Williams (UMBC): Video Editor
Erica Drezek (HTSI): Narrator
Michelle Williams (UMBC): Producer
Maosheng Zhao (University of Montana): Scientist
Steven W Running (University of Montana): Scientist
Joycelyn Thomson Jones (NASA/GSFC): Project Support
Rich Melnick (HTSI): Project Support
Michelle Williams (UMBC): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Science Paper:
Zhao, M. and S. W. Running, 2010, Drought-induced reduction in global terrestrial net primary production from 2000 through 2009. Science, 329: 940-943.

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Narrated Movies

Goddard TV Tape:
G2010-106 -- NPP Video File

DLESE >> Biology
SVS >> Carbon
SVS >> Carbon Absorption
SVS >> Carbon Cycle
SVS >> Climate
DLESE >> Ecology
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere >> Ecological Dynamics >> Primary Production
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere >> Vegetation >> Plant Characteristics
SVS >> Climate Change
DLESE >> Narrated
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version