Posted on August 25, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Clear-cutting may have reduced rainfall by as much as 15 percent
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The decline of Maya civilization has often been linked with drought by climate researchers and archaeologists. Now, a new study suggests the Maya may have hastened their own demise by clearing forests.
Based on climate modeling, Mayan land-clearing may have reduced rainfall by as much as 15 percent in the heavily logged Yucatan Peninsula, and by up to 5 percent in other parts of southern Mexico. Overall, the researchers said as much as 60 percent of the regional drying may have been caused by deforestation.
“We’re not saying deforestation explains the entire drought, but it does explain a substantial portion of the overall drying that is thought to have occurred,” said the study’s lead author Benjamin Cook, a climate modeler at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought | Tagged: deforestation, drought, Guatemala, Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, Maya, Maya civilization, Mexico | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Could forest-clearing in beetle-killed stands tilt regional climate toward dry conditions?
New research tracks rainfall patterns in Central America
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — As if the pine beetle outbreak weren’t bad enough, there’s new evidence to suggest that widespread forest clearing can change precipitation patterns on regional scale, tilting climate toward drought conditions.
The findings by NASA climatologist Ben Cook suggest ancient Meso-American civilizations of the Mayans and Aztecs likely amplified droughts in the Yucatán Peninsula and southern and central Mexico by clearing rainforests to make room for pastures and farmland.
Converting forest to farmland can increase the reflectivity, or albedo, of the land surface in ways that affect precipitation patterns. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, Snow and weather, Summit County news | Tagged: deforestation, drought, Forest health, forests, Mayan civilization, Medieval Warm Period, Yucatán Peninsula | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 18, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Impacts of deforestation on global warming vary with latitude
A high country forest near Vail. Colorado.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — New research on the relationship between forest cover and surface temperatures suggest that deforestation in northern latitudes may have a regional cooling effect, but closer to the equator, cleared areas likely result in a net warming.
In a nutshell, the impacts of deforestation on global warming vary with latitude, which may require new climate-monitoring strategies, The study by a team of 20 researchers from around the world is being published in the Nov. 17 issue of the journal Nature.
That’s because temperature readings are generally taken in grassy fields with biophysical properties of cleared land, so those readings “do not accurately represent the state of climate for 30 percent of the terrestrial surface covered by forests,” according to the study. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, forests, global warming | Tagged: deforestation, Environment, forests, global warming, Summit County News, United States Forest Service, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 22, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
This image from the Wikimedia Commons shows a rainforest in Peru along the banks of the Amazon.
Consumer interest, combined with enforcement in producer countries, can yield results, researcher say
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A London-based think tank says illegal logging has dropped worldwide, but also warns that loggers are probably getting better at hiding illegal activities, and that China and Japan need to cut their imports of illegally logged wood.
Chatham House, an international think tank, says its study on illegal logging is the most thorough assessment of issue to-date. According to the data the researchers examined. illegal logging has dropped by as much as 50 percent in Cameroon, between 50 a 75 percent in the Brazilian Amazon and by 75 percent in Indonesia. Total global production of illegal timber has fallen by about 22 percent since 2002. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Bob Berwyn, Chatham House, deforestation, illegal logging, illegal logging declines, logging, rainforests, Summit County, Summit County News, Summit Voice | 1 Comment »