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Forest cover plays big role in global warming measurements

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. Continue reading

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