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Part 3 – Rain Forests: The World’s Air Conditioner

( We would like to invite all of those interested in this subject to join our ongoing discussion at Treehugger.com . )

Tropical Forests Air Condition Planet Earth

Lawrence Livermore study has raised questions about reforestation in Northern Snowy regions, the is no question about the importance of our tropical rain forests. According to the Lawrence Livermore study tropical forests are very efficient at keeping the Earth at a happy, healthy temperature.

The conclusions of the study found were that tropical forests store large amounts of carbon and because they produce reflective clouds they are especially good at cooling the planet, a positive Albedo Effect.

In contrast, according to the study, forests in snowy areas my possibly warm the Earth, because their dark canopy absorbs sunlight that would otherwise be reflected back to space by a bright white covering of snow.

The work simulates the effects of large-scale deforestation, and accounts for the positive and negative climate effects of tree cover at different latitudes.

“Tropical forests are like Earth’s air conditioner,” Caldeira said. “When it comes to rehabilitating forests to fight global warming, carbon dioxide might be only half of the story; we also have to account for whether they help to reflect sunlight by producing clouds, or help to absorb it by shading snowy tundra.”

Forests in colder, sub-polar latitudes evaporate less water and are less effective at producing clouds. As a result, the main climate effect of these forests is to increase the absorption of sunlight, which can overwhelm the cooling effect of carbon storage.

However, Caldeira believes it would be counterproductive to cut down forests in snowy areas, even if it could help to combat global warming. “A primary reason we are trying to slow global warming is to protect nature,” he explains. “It just makes no sense to destroy natural ecosystems in the name of saving natural ecosystems.”

Part 1 – Does Reforestation Contribute to Global Warming?
Part 2 – Reforestation, Aldedo and Lawrence Livermore Study
Part 3 – Rain Forests: The World’s Air Conditioner
Part 4 – Planting Trees in Cities
Part 5 – Does Reforestation Contribute to Global Warming? – A second look at the Livermore Study
Part 6 – Getting Our Priorities Straight – Common Sense Solutions to Climate Change

Related Links
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Carnegie Institution
Save the Forests at Wood Pile


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Filed under: Carbon Offsets, Climate Change, Reforestation, Sustainable Development, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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