Are Tropical Forests Immune To Global Warming?

A new study by 'climate modeller' Dr Chris Huntingford has found tropical forests are unlikely to lose biomass in response to greenhouse gas emissions caused by global warming. (He doesn't appear to be a crackpot either.)

Forest picture from Shutterstock

Huntingford and his colleagues at the Oxford Centre for Ecology & Hydrology used simulations with twenty-two climate models to explore the response of tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. In all but one of the models, no loss of forest cover was found.

"Using simulations with 22 climate models and the MOSES–TRIFFID land surface scheme, we find that only in one of the simulations are tropical forests projected to lose biomass by the end of the twenty-first century—and then only for the Americas," the report explains.

We should point out that Huntingford does not dispute the reality of climate change or its potential effects on the environment, as this Guardian article attests. The report also acknowledges that uncertainty remains over how tropical forest carbon stocks might alter in response to changes in climate and atmospheric composition.

"Despite the considerable uncertainties, we conclude that there is evidence of forest resilience for all three regions," Huntingford stated.

So basically, tropical forests could be resilient to climate change, but there isn't enough evidence one way or the other to know for sure. Let the reader debate commence.

See also: If Global Warming Is Real, How Come It’s Always Raining?

Simulated resilience of tropical rainforests to CO2-induced climate change [Nature GeoScience]


Comments

    Great article! Love the idea of finding the natural areas of resilience (and even thriving) in the changing climate. Much better than last article ;)

    This sort of story will definitely not suit a lot of people and it will be discredited in no time. We need presentation of evidence that we are all to be threatened and harmed to scare us into acceptance that the powers that be are there to protect us, mother nature certainly is not going to defend herself-she needs specialist help because, like us, she doesn't reall know what is good for her!

      I think you'll find mother nature can defend herself quite well enough. If we did screw things up bad enough, we wouldn't be able to survive and the human race would mostly die out.
      The earth would most likely then recover itself and return to how it is now, but without us. Or it would turn into a similar atmosphere to Mars. My theory is that Mars used to be like Earth, only it got fscked up somehow, and the "martians" populated Earth. So maybe we need to terraform Mars again and move some people back there.

    I could fight a rain forest if I had to.. Like, if it killed my family or something.

    Hardly surprising. Plant growth is stimulated by CO2. That's what plants do - absorb CO2 to build themselves.

    Last edited 13/03/13 11:24 am

    Funny thing is that all the climate change deniers will latch on to this as 'evidence' that there is no climate change.

    These are the same guys who say the climate models are unreliable.

    Guess what this guy used to assess the impact on rain forests...

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