Combined Climate and Carbon-Cycle Effects of Large-Scale Deforestation

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The prevention of deforestation and promotion of afforestation have often been cited as strategies to slow global warming. Deforestation releases CO{sub 2} to the atmosphere, which exerts a warming influence on Earth's climate. However, biophysical effects of deforestation, which include changes in land surface albedo, evapotranspiration, and cloud cover also affect climate. Here we present results from several large-scale deforestation experiments performed with a three-dimensional coupled global carbon-cycle and climate model. These are the first such simulations performed using a fully three-dimensional model representing physical and biogeochemical interactions among land, atmosphere, and ocean. We find that global-scale deforestation has a ... continued below

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Bala, G; Caldeira, K; Wickett, M; Phillips, T J; Lobell, D B; Delire, C et al. October 17, 2006.

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The prevention of deforestation and promotion of afforestation have often been cited as strategies to slow global warming. Deforestation releases CO{sub 2} to the atmosphere, which exerts a warming influence on Earth's climate. However, biophysical effects of deforestation, which include changes in land surface albedo, evapotranspiration, and cloud cover also affect climate. Here we present results from several large-scale deforestation experiments performed with a three-dimensional coupled global carbon-cycle and climate model. These are the first such simulations performed using a fully three-dimensional model representing physical and biogeochemical interactions among land, atmosphere, and ocean. We find that global-scale deforestation has a net cooling influence on Earth's climate, since the warming carbon-cycle effects of deforestation are overwhelmed by the net cooling associated with changes in albedo and evapotranspiration. Latitude-specific deforestation experiments indicate that afforestation projects in the tropics would be clearly beneficial in mitigating global-scale warming, but would be counterproductive if implemented at high latitudes and would offer only marginal benefits in temperate regions. While these results question the efficacy of mid- and high-latitude afforestation projects for climate mitigation, forests remain environmentally valuable resources for many reasons unrelated to climate.

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PDF-file: 21 pages; size: 1.1 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, N/A, no. 16, April 17, 2007, pp. 6550-6555; Journal Volume: 16

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-225431
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 907848
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884402

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 17, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 2:58 p.m.

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Bala, G; Caldeira, K; Wickett, M; Phillips, T J; Lobell, D B; Delire, C et al. Combined Climate and Carbon-Cycle Effects of Large-Scale Deforestation, article, October 17, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884402/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.