Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cyclones may speed up climate change

Climate Ark, via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The CSIRO says cyclones could accelerate climate change. Research scientist Garry Cook says rising sea temperatures and more intense cyclones in northern Australia could see enormous amounts of carbon released from tropical forests..

Dr Cook has been studying the impact of Cyclone Monica, which devastated thousands of square kilometres of eucalypt forest in Arnhem Land last year. He says the loss of tree-stored carbon in a single cyclone would be the same as the nation's emissions from fossil fuels over an entire year.

"The best predictions at the moment are that we'll get an increased frequency of very strong cyclones, and maybe a decreased frequency of weaker cyclones," he said. "So that will probably mean that large very old trees might be rarer and perhaps less carbon stored in the landcape, so further exacerbating the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and cause more global warming."

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