Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tropical forests unexpectedly resilient to climate change

Olive Heffernan in Nature: Tropical forests are unlikely to die off as a result of the predicted rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases this century, a new study finds. The analysis refutes previous work that predicted the catastrophic loss of the Amazon rainforest as one of the more startling potential outcomes of climate change.

In the most extensive study of its kind1, an international team of scientists simulated the effect of business-as-usual emissions on the amounts of carbon locked up in tropical forests across Amazonia, Central America, Asia and Africa through to 2100. They compared the results from 22 different global climate models teamed with various models of land-surface processes. In all but one simulation, rainforests across the three regions retained their carbon stocks even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased throughout the century.

The study provides “robust evidence for the resilience of tropical rainforests”, says lead author Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford. But uncertainties remain, he adds.

The single simulation that predicted biomass loss for the Amazonian and Central American rainforests in the current study used a model called HadCM3, developed by the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter. That same model produced the earlier prediction that climate change would lead to massive forest die-off in the Amazon...

Henri Rousseau's "Struggle between a tiger and a bull," 1908

No comments: