The arid zones of the planet, which constitute its most extensive ecosystems, absorb significantly greater quantities of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere as the quantity of CO2 increases, which helps combat climate change, a study published in Nature Climate Change said.
A U.S. scientific team headed by biologist Dave Evans of the University of Washington, exposed nine plots of land in California's Mojave Desert for a period of 10 years to current CO2 levels and to those forecast for the year 2050.
The researchers, who injected the gases through plastic tubes, later excavated a meter (yard) of sand to check on the amount of carbon absorbed.
The analysis indicated, according to the magazine, that "arid lands could increase the carbon uptake enough to eventually account for 15 to 28 percent of the amount currently being absorbed by land surfaces."
As CO2 emissions into the atmosphere increase, the absorption of this gas by arid lands also increases, Evans said.
It is estimated that this absorption could increase to the point of representing 4 to 8 percent of current emissions.
From an optimistic point of view, the research published Monday suggests, according to its authors, that, by the year 2050, arid ecosystems will be contributing significantly to the uptake of harmful CO2 from the atmosphere. EFE