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.

Email      Recommend     Tweet     Stumble Upon     Digg     Share    


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

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


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 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

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

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

 

OF INTEREST



Yale