Beyond their natural beauty, tropical forests have a crucial role in cooling the Earth’s surface. They not only suck in and store CO2, but they also create clouds, humidify the air and release cooling chemicals.
This article by Freda Kreier, writing for Nature, makes the following points:
- A new study has found that trees cool the planet by one-third of a degree through biophysical mechanisms such as humidifying the air.
- Most scientists assumed that carbon dioxide alone was all we needed to know about forest–climate interactions.
- This new study confirms that tropical forests have other significant ways of affecting the climate system.
- The cooling caused by the biophysical effects was especially significant locally.
- Having a rainforest nearby could help protect an area’s agriculture and cities from heatwaves.
- These findings should enable scientists to improve their climate models while helping governments devise better conservation and climate strategies.
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