e360 digest


17 Nov 2011: Deforestation in Boreal Region
Has Net Cooling Effect, Study Says

While deforestation is considered a critical factor in global warming since it causes the release of carbon, scientists say that in northern latitudes tree loss may actually have a net cooling effect. In an analysis of temperature data collected from Florida to Manitoba, researchers from 20 institutions found that in the boreal region — north of 45 degrees latitude — the surface temperatures in open grassy areas were cooler than in adjacent forests because the snow reflected the sun’s rays back into space. In those areas, researchers say, the darker forests absorbed the sun’s heat. “The cooling effect is linear with latitude, so the farther north you go, the cooler you get with deforestation,” said Xuhui Lee, a professor of meteorology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the lead investigator of the study, published in the journal Nature. For instance, in regions north of Minnesota (45 degrees latitude) temperatures in deforested areas decreased by an average of 1.5 degrees F, while in areas south of North Carolina (35 degrees latitude), deforestation appeared to cause warming.


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter


CONNECT


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 VIDEO

“video
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast.
Watch the video.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 PHOTO ESSAY

“Alaska
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S.
View the photos.

e360 VIDEO

“Ashaninka
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging.
Learn more.

e360 VIDEO

Food waste
An e360 video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Choco rainforest Cacao
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

“video
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land.
Watch the video.

OF INTEREST



Yale