Europe’s trees have been warming the planet

“The researchers pin most of the temperature increase on a shift from broad-leaved tree species like oak to more economically valuable conifer species like spruce and pine, they write this week in Science. “By changing the forest, we also make changes to the amount of radiation, water, and energy that the forest releases,” says lead author and environmental scientist Kim Naudts. The conifers are worse for the climate because they absorb more light with their dark color, trapping heat that would otherwise be reflected back into space. They also release less cooling water into the atmosphere through evaporation. Together, these two factors were to blame for 0.08°C of the region’s warming. Foresters removing trees for wood products contributed another 0.02°C by releasing carbon that would otherwise be stored in forest debris and soil.”


photo Cabeço Santo project


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