By: Michael McBride, CBS 2 reporterKATRINA — As the desert heat is creeping in, some grassland species are beginning to show their age.
A study in the journal Environmental Research Letters says the amount of carbon in a given sample of grassland soil, which is used to build crops, is changing in the desert.
The study found that more carbon is released during warmer conditions, when there is less sunlight for photosynthesis.
Researchers say it is not the amount that’s going away, but the timing.
They also found that as the temperature rises, there is a smaller amount of sunlight available.
That’s a concern for the health of the desert’s grassland animals.
In the study, researchers studied samples of grasslands in the Mojave Desert in northern California and Utah.
Researchers collected a total of 5,000 samples from the grasslands to compare to one from the Mojaves.
The difference was found to be more than the difference between a grassland in southern California and a grasslands north of the border.
The team found that grasslands were losing carbon due to warmer temperatures and decreased sunlight.
The grasslands that were more exposed to warmer conditions had higher levels of carbon, and that was a significant difference.
Researchers found that the amount carbon released during the cooler months of summer and fall was smaller than in warmer months of spring and fall.
The team says that indicates that these animals need more sunlight during the warmer months.