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Deforestation likely accelerates global warming more than previously thought due to loss of reactive gases cooling effect

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January 11, 2018 University of Leeds

Deforestation is likely to warm the climate even more than originally thought, scientists warn. Research has found reactive gases emitted by trees and vegetation have an overall cooling effect on our climate, meaning deforestation would lead to higher temperatures than previously anticipated as less of the gases would be created.

An international team of scientists, led by the University of Leeds, studied the way that reactive gases emitted by trees and vegetation affect the climate.

Their research, published today in Nature Communications, found these reactive gases cool our climate, meaning deforestation would lead to higher temperatures than previously anticipated as less of the gases would be created.

….”We found that the cooling impacts of these gases outweigh the warming impacts, meaning that reactive gases given out by forests have an overall cooling effect on our climate.”

Dr Scott added, “The warming and cooling effects of these gases are most closely balanced in the tropics, which is where most deforestation is occurring — suggesting that we really need to understand more about the strength of these impacts”

C. E. Scott, et al. Impact on short-lived climate forcers increases projected warming due to deforestation. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02412-4

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