How forests fight back against global warming with chemical warfare

A new study finds that the terpenes, isoprenes and other chemicals that trees release into the atmosphere help ameliorate the worst effects of global warming. Climate News Network has the story.

The warmer the weather, the greater the likelihood that gas emissions from plants would create conditions for the formation of clouds, which in turn would reflect more sunlight back into space, and thus help damp down global warming.

That is the good news. The not-so-good news is that these plant gas emissions won’t make a great deal of difference – on a global scale they might counter about 1 percent of global warming.

On a regional scale, however, the effect might be much greater: in heavily forested areas – Finland, Siberia and Canada, for instance – where human emissions of aerosols are anyway relatively slight, plant gas releases might counter as much as 30 percent of warming.

About Dave Bonta

I live in an Appalachian hollow in the Juniata watershed of central Pennsylvania, and spend a great deal of time walking in the woods. My books of poetry include FAILED STATE: HAIBUN, ICE MOUNTAIN: AN ELEGY, BREAKDOWN: BANJO POEMS, and ODES TO TOOLS.

Posted on May 12, 2013, in Climate change. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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