Pine Beetle Attacks Cause Temperature Rise in Canadian Forests

The decimation of trees by mountain pine beetles in British Columbia has caused air temperatures in affected areas to climb by an average of 1 degree Celsius during the summer months, according to a new study.
Mountain Pine Beetle
A mountain pine beetle
In an analysis of satellite and forest data collected between 1999 and 2010, scientists from the University of Toronto and University of California, Berkeley calculated that areas hit hardest by widespread pine beetle infestations have experienced even sharper temperature increases of several degrees Celsius, as regions are increasingly deprived of the natural cooling effect of trees. Since water evaporation through leaves prevents some of the sun’s radiation from heating the ground surface, the widespread loss of trees causes the temperature increases, said Holly Maness, a UC Berkeley researcher and co-author of the study, published in Nature Geoscience.