These findings partly explain why climate models overestimated the rate at which carbon accumulates in the
atmosphere. However the new calculation is unlikely to make a difference to global warming predictions.
Working out the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critical to estimating the future impacts of
global warming on temperatures. About half the CO2 that's produced ends up in the oceans or is absorbed by living things. To model the exact impacts of CO2 on a global scale is an extremely complicated business.
Scientists have re-examined the way trees and plants absorb carbon in this study. They have looked at how the gas moves inside the leaves and have come to the conclusion that more gas is absorbed than had previously been calculated, in a process called mesophyll diffusion.
The researchers believe that their new work increases the amount of carbon taken up through fertilisation from 915 billion tonnes to 1,057 billion over the whole period.