How Climate Change Is Affecting Soil Microbiomes

How Climate Change Is Affecting Soil Microbiomes

Climate change is a major issue for a variety of different reasons. According to one recent study, the Earth’s temperature has risen at a rate of approximately 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit every decade since 1880. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that 2021 was one of the warmest years on record – a trend that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Not only does climate change contribute to more serve storms, but it is also responsible for rising sea levels, longer and more intense periods of drought, and more. It’s particularly devastating when it comes to agriculture, as rising temperatures can impact entire ecosystems in a way that aren’t easily repairable, if they are at all.

Case in point: soil microbiomes. The microorganisms that are a part of soil are responsible for many essential functions, including protecting the structure of the soil, recycling nutrients, suppressing pathogens and more. Climate change can have a variety of negative consequences for these microbiomes, all of which are more than worth exploring.

The Impact of Climate Change on Soil Microbiomes: Breaking Things Down
Soil microbiomes aren’t just important – they’re literally the key to life on this planet. Without them, entire habitats would be thrown into chaos. Newer and more devastating pathogens will easily emerge. For farmers, who depend on healthy and stable soil to provide food to countless people, the consequences are particularly severe. Harvests would become more difficult and ultimately less productive, which would both lead to lower volumes of food for the people who need it and could easily cause larger economic issues as well.

Part of the reason why this problem is such a crucial one has to do with the essential role that these soil microbiomes serve. The microorganisms that life in soil include fungi, bacteria, single-celled organisms and more. They all interact with one another in a very precise way. Microbiomes break down organic matter in the soil, for example, releasing it into the air in the form of carbon dioxide.

If climate change continues to alter the way these microorganisms co-exist and interact with each other, it could result in this process speeding up. That would lead to more carbon dioxide getting released into the atmosphere, which itself would exacerbate the issue of climate change itself.

As this process speeds up, it is likely to give birth to new pathogens that humans (not to mention animals) might not be equipped to properly handle.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to predict exactly what the long-term implications will be of climate change’s impact on soil microbiomes. Right now, experiments are taking place around the world as experts try to anticipate how conditions will change and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Having said that, one thing is for certain: climate change has and will continue to have an undeniable impact on our daily lives and, with the case of soil microbiomes, it isn’t always that which is visible to the naked eye that is affected the most.

If you’d like to find out more information about how climate change is impacting soil microbiomes, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.