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Conflicting news about weeds and climate change

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The bad news is that global warming is increasing the aggressiveness of some weeds, says the Weed Science Society of America. The good news is that some scientists in Australia don't necessarily agree.

Once summer's heat and humidity soar, I don't want to think about weeds. And I imagine I'm not alone in feeling that way. Unfortunately, the weeds are there and have to be dealt with.

If the Weed Science folks are right, that's going to get more difficult:

They point out that the rising amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by increased temperatures is expected to help vegetables and grains grow more quickly and produce greater yields.

Unfortunately, that impact could be even more pronounced in weeds than in good crops.

So, how much faster will the weeds grow with warmer temps and higher carbon dioxide levels? About four times more, several studies by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service showed.

Interestingly, the Monitor has been reporting this since 1995.

But wait a minute, say researchers at the School of Plant Science at the University of Tasmania. Their seven-year study suggests that for many weeds, the increase in growth caused by more CO2 is offset by the rising temperatures.


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