When the soil warms up, it releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) – an effect that further fuels climate change. Until now, it had been assumed that the reason for this was mainly due to the presence of small soil animals and microorganisms that would eat and breathe more in warmer temperatures. However, a new study in Nature Climate Change has shown that this is not the case. Quite the contrary: If warmth is accompanied by drought, the soil animals eat even less. In order to improve the predictive power of climate models, it is now crucial to understand the biological processes in the soil better, say the scientists.