Climate Effects of Global Land Cover Change

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There are two competing effects of global land cover change on climate: an albedo effect which leads to heating when changing from grass/croplands to forest, and an evapotranspiration effect which tends to produce cooling. It is not clear which effect would dominate in a global land cover change scenario. We have performed coupled land/ocean/atmosphere simulations of global land cover change using the NCAR CAM3 atmospheric general circulation model. We find that replacement of current vegetation by trees on a global basis would lead to a global annual mean warming of 1.6 C, nearly 75% of the warming produced under a ... continued below

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Gibbard, S G; Caldeira, K; Bala, G; Phillips, T & Wickett, M August 24, 2005.

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There are two competing effects of global land cover change on climate: an albedo effect which leads to heating when changing from grass/croplands to forest, and an evapotranspiration effect which tends to produce cooling. It is not clear which effect would dominate in a global land cover change scenario. We have performed coupled land/ocean/atmosphere simulations of global land cover change using the NCAR CAM3 atmospheric general circulation model. We find that replacement of current vegetation by trees on a global basis would lead to a global annual mean warming of 1.6 C, nearly 75% of the warming produced under a doubled CO{sub 2} concentration, while global replacement by grasslands would result in a cooling of 0.4 C. These results suggest that more research is necessary before forest carbon storage should be deployed as a mitigation strategy for global warming. In particular, high latitude forests probably have a net warming effect on the Earth's climate.

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PDF-file: 18 pages; size: 0.2 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters; Journal Volume: 32

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-215046
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 877856
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc874513

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  • August 24, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 10:34 p.m.

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Gibbard, S G; Caldeira, K; Bala, G; Phillips, T & Wickett, M. Climate Effects of Global Land Cover Change, article, August 24, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc874513/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.