NASA satellite data disclose plants use less water than previously assumed

Scientists new research reveals that plants use up less water than previously thought. Moreover, the researchers have figured out that freshwater travels through the soil more rapidly than earlier assumed. The research findings were made possible using NASA satellite. Some explanations have been offered to explain the apparent change in plant water usage.

A new research finding is turning out to be an eye-opener on plant water usage. Plants actually use less water than previously estimated. However, the finding of water consumption by plants could be a pointer to two possible conclusions.

The first possible conclusion according to Stephen Good of the University of Utah is that maybe plants have become more efficient in water usage than scientists previously assumed.

Good said that another possible explanation could be that plant productivity has declined globally, thus the usage of less water these days than in the previous years.

Oceans get more than a quarter of rain water than falls continents
The new findings also show the interesting behavior of rain water and snow that fall on the continents.

At least more than a quarter of that water runs off directly into oceans. The two-third of the portion of water that doesn’t end up in oceans directly is eventually given up by plants during photosynthesis.

The one-third of the water that doesn’t run off into oceans evaporates to the atmosphere mostly from plant leaves, bare ground and other water bodies.

Different Hydrogen Composition

Interestingly, the researchers also established that the composition of hydrogen and hydrogen isotope deuterium in water released through photosynthesis and that in water evaporated from inland water bodies is different.

Scientists from Salt Lake City, Oregon State University, Corvallis and the University of Utah studied the two different forms of hydrogen using Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) on NASA’s Aura satellite.

According to the scientists, knowledge of how plants, soil, rainwater and groundwater interact is useful in improving climate models in major ways.

Stephen Good authored the scientific document about plant water usage that was published in the Science Journal.

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