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10 Sep

Botany: From the soil to the sky

Researchers put a number on the amount of energy that plants use to lift water Every day, about one quadrillion gallons of water are silently pumped from the ground to the treetops. Earth's plant life accomplishes this staggering feat using only sunlight. It takes energy to lift all this liquid, but just how much was an open question until this year. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have calculated the tremendous amount of power used by plants to move water through their xylem from the soil to their leaves. They found that, on average, it was an additional 14% of the energy the plants harvested through photosynthesis. On a global scale, this is comparable to the production of all of humanity's hydropower. Their...
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