Forests cover almost a third of the land surface on Earth. These wooded environments play a key role in both lessening and adding to global warming.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation
If a Tree Falls in the Forest, and No One Is Around to Hear It, Does Climate Change?
News story originally written on June 12, 2008
Forests cover almost a third of the land surface on Earth. A new report is out about forests and how they impact global climate. Scientists know that forests help lessen global warming, so they are now trying to learn more about how this happens.
Gordon Bonan, the atmospheric scientist who wrote the report, explained that as people become more aware of climate change, there will be a bigger interest in finding ways to decrease global warming.
Forests have complex relationships with the Sun, the atmosphere, the water cycle and the carbon cycle. Forests are also impacted by human activities. These relationships affect the warming of the planet. For example, in the Amazon, tropical rainforests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This helps lessen global warming by lowering the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These forests also put moisture into the atmosphere, which cools climate and also helps to lessen global warming.
Researchers say that we need a better understanding of the many influences of forests on climate and how these will change as climate changes. Then we will be able to understand how forests can potentially help lessen global warming.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
How do you know to pack your bathing suit and sunhat for a trip to a tropical island or pack warm sweaters and coats for a trip to Alaska? If you know a little about regional climates, then you know what...more
Earth’s climate is getting warmer. During the past 100 years Earth’s average temperature rose about 0.6° Celsius (1.0° F). Things that people are doing like burning fossil fuels, changing the way land...more
Have you ever been to a rainforest? Rainforests have very different trees than the ones you might climb in your yard. Thousands of species of plants and animals live in the rain forests of the world. But...more
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a kind of gas. There isn't that much carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, but it is still very important. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it helps trap heat coming...more
Only a tiny amount of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere are greenhouse gases. But they have a huge effect on climate. There are several different types of greenhouse gases, but they all have something in...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more