Sugarcane Crops Showed to Cool Climate

Sugarcane has been touted as a sort of an inefficient biofuel crop, since it consumes a lot of water and fertilizer, and hence its carbon footprint is not the best for such a purpose, compared to algae, for example. Sugarcane, on the other hand, can help cool the climate in a certain way.

Satellite data analyzed by Scott Loarie and his colleagues from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford revealed the results of an experiment which took place in Brazil. The data showed that converting natural vegetation to crops increased the temperature by 1.6 degrees Celsius, but then growing sugarcane cooled it by 0.9 °C.

Their explanation of the phenomenon was simple: sugarcane just reflects sunlight more than other crops and the water it uses is released by transpiration, thus providing local cooling.

This is an isolated situation, though. Cutting trees in the favor of biofuel crops would do much more harm than good to the environment and the economy, since the prices of food and the carbon dioxide concentration would rise. It is still good to know the effect of sugarcane on the atmospheric temperature and that it could be applied in certain areas.


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