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El Niño Slows Greenhouse Gas Buildup?

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Science  31 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5339, pp. 802
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5339.802

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The periodic warming of the eastern Pacific known as El Niño takes the rap for a lot of bad weather. But El Niño also has an upside that may help researchers better understand global climate change. On page 870, researchers describe new results suggesting that, by warming global climate, an El Niño or any other warm period may help temporarily brake the ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to human activity. The mechanism: a delayed burst in plant growth worldwide that appears to sop up excess levels of the greenhouse gas.