How Does Deforestation Affect The Global Climate – Deforestation of tropical rainforest south of Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea. Credit: Minden Pictures / Alamy Stock Photography.
The average hottest day of the year in Europe, North America and Asia has become significantly busier due to deforestation since the start of the industrial revolution, a study finds.
- 1 How Does Deforestation Affect The Global Climate
- 2 The Impact Of Deforestation
- 3 Types Of Deforestation: Forms, Causes & Consequences
- 3.1 How Deforestation & Climate Change In The Amazon Impacts Biodiversity
- 3.2 Global Change Biology
- 3.3 What Does 30 Years Of Global Deforestation Look Like?
- 4 What Is The Relationship Between Deforestation And Climate Change?
How Does Deforestation Affect The Global Climate
The research considers the double impact of deforestation on the climate: First, deforestation releases CO2 into the atmosphere, which contributes to the increase in global temperature; and secondly, the large impact it can have on physical processes in the local climate, which can produce a net warming or cooling effect on a larger scale.
The Impact Of Deforestation
The combined impact of deforestation is so great in some regions that it played a bigger role than greenhouse gas emissions in rising temperatures on the hottest days until the 1980s, said the lead author of Carbon Brief.
The author adds that the results suggest that replanting trees through afforestation or reforestation could be a way to protect against further temperature increases on warmer days.
The new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, estimates how deforestation from the beginning of the industrial era to recent times has affected temperatures on the hottest days of the year in different countries.
Deforestation is one of the main causes of human-induced climate change. When forests are cut down or burned, they release the carbon they have stored. Removing trees also reduces a large carbon sink, which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
Types Of Deforestation: Forms, Causes & Consequences
Since 1990, about 129 million hectares of forest (an area the size of South Africa) have been cleared by humans. Deforestation, together with other land use changes, accounts for about 11% of annual global CO2 emissions. According to new research, deforestation between 1861 and 2000 accounted for 30% of CO2 emissions.
Deforestation can also affect temperatures through its impact on a number of different physical processes. These impacts occur on a local and regional scale, but can also have global impacts.
One such process is evapotranspiration, a term that describes the exchange of water between land and atmosphere.
As part of this process, trees absorb water from the ground through their roots and then release it into the air as moisture, which has a cooling effect on the air above. If the trees are cut down, this cooling effect disappears.
There’s No Doubt That Brazil’s Fires Are Linked To Deforestation, Scientists Say
Lead writer Dr. Quentin Lejeune says that when you consider these physical processes alongside the effects of carbon emissions, you can conclude that deforestation plays a “significant” role in increasing daytime temperatures. Lejeune is currently a research assistant at Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate science and policy institute in Berlin. He tells Carbon Brief:
“During the industrial period, many mid-latitude regions experienced high rates of deforestation, particularly in North America, what is now Eastern Europe, and Russia. “We found that this led to significant local increases in daytime temperature on hot days.”
For the study, the researchers used a series of climate models to “reconstruct” the historically warmest daily temperatures between 1861 and 2000.
Their simulations assess the role of deforestation in warmer daily temperatures, both through the release of carbon and its impact on physical processes. They also considered a number of other factors that could affect global temperatures, including greenhouse gas emissions, aerosols and volcanic eruptions.
How Deforestation & Climate Change In The Amazon Impacts Biodiversity
The results show that in regions where at least 15% of forest cover has been removed from pre-industrial times to the present day, deforestation is responsible for a third of the increase in temperature on the average hottest day of the year. Lejeune says:
“Since deforestation occurred relatively early in the industrial era, we estimate that these processes contributed most to the warm day warming in these regions over a long period of time. [This effect] was moderated by the impact of the increase in concentration of greenhouse gases eliminated in the second. half of the 20th century.”
The map below shows the local effects of deforestation on warmer daily temperatures in different parts of the world today (1981-2000) compared to pre-industrial conditions.
In the graphs, red shows the net increase in temperature on the hottest day of the year, while blue shows the net decrease. Boxes are used to highlight results for North America (left), Europe (center) and Asia (right).
To Tackle Deforestation We Must Focus On Land Use. Here’s Why
Local effects of deforestation on temperature variation on the hottest day of the year today (1981-2000) compared to preindustrial conditions. Color shows increases (red) and decreases (blue) in regional temperature. Insets highlight results for North America (left), Europe (center), and Asia (right). Source: Lejeune et al. (2018)
The results show that the impact of deforestation on warmer daytime temperatures is greatest in North America and Europe, says Lejeune:
“We estimate that the daily maximum temperature on the hottest day of the year in the central United States increased by up to 1 degree due to these processes.”
The research finds that both North America and Europe experienced massive deforestation due to the industrial revolution. In the United States, for example, in the second half of the 19th century, an average of 34 square kilometers of forest (pdf) were cut down every day to make way for settlements and agriculture.
Global Change Biology
But some regions that have recently suffered massive forest loss, such as Brazil, have seen a sharp drop in temperatures on the hottest days.
Lejeune says this may have to do with how tree removal affects the Earth’s albedo, or the speed at which sunlight is reflected back into space.
Since the trees are generally dark in color, they do not reflect much sunlight. However, when they are removed, the remaining blue surface becomes brighter and reflects more sunlight. Therefore, deforestation could have a net cooling effect locally in the short term.
In North America and Europe, deforested land is more likely to be converted into urban areas, and these areas also tend to have low albedo. As a result, the cooling effects of deforestation in these regions are likely to be offset by warming effects.
Amazon Rainforest May Be Approaching A Critical Tipping Point, Study Finds
The research highlights the “significant” impact that deforestation and other land-use changes have on rising temperatures, especially at local scales, says Lejeune:
“Decision-makers who have to decide what to use land for (agriculture, biodiversity conservation, forestry to fix carbon) should be aware that these decisions can affect the climate of the region in which they live.”
The results also suggest that restoring forest cover (“reforestation”) and planting new forests (“reforestation”) could help protect against further temperature increases on warmer days, he adds:
“Our findings suggest that reforestation and forestry are effective in reducing regional temperatures for these particular regions and at this particular time of year.”
What Does 30 Years Of Global Deforestation Look Like?
Director of the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Extreme Climates, Prof. In 2012, Pitman was the lead author of a research paper that found that past deforestation and other land-use changes caused a decrease in extremely hot daytime temperatures in mid-latitude regions. He tells Carbon Brief:
“The models, which are the only ones available, do not represent synoptic-scale processes such as blocking well, and therefore the reliability of their results is uncertain.”
“Blocking” patterns are areas of high pressure that remain nearly stationary, blocking the movement of other weather systems. Lockdown patterns could remain in place for up to a week, leading to prolonged hot weather like heat waves in the countries below.
“The scale of afforestation in the next 50 years will be insignificant compared to [historical deforestation]. So I doubt that afforestation would have much impact on a reasonable scale. “I think this could have a big local impact. “
What Is The Relationship Between Deforestation And Climate Change?
Lejeune, Q. et al. (2018) Historical deforestation has locally increased the intensity of warm days in northern midlatitudes, doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0131-z
Receive a summary of all important articles and features selected by Carbon Brief by email. You can find out more about our newsletter here. What exactly is your relationship with deforestation and climate change? The Rainforest Alliance has revealed the numbers used and new information for innovators to protect gardens.
Many things found on leaves collide with something desperately needed: climate change. Arbols effectively trap natural gases (GEIs) such as carbon dioxide, preventing them from accumulating in the atmosphere and on the new planet.
Outside, there is no single method to eliminate anything else and reach the GEI mixture that cremates humans (although combustible materials do exist, mostly in power plants and in cars, planes and trains). These cause emissions through air bubbles: When air bubbles form, they release the stored carbon into the atmosphere. Additional emissions occur when deforestation is exposed to forest runoff or enters a forest or sea body. In total,
The Impact Of Deforestation On Carbon Storage
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