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Three Effects of Forests on Climate Change by Ashok Malhotra, January 29, 2019

Three Effects of Forests on Climate Change


Ashok Malhotra, Ph.D. U. B. C. Canada, B. Tech., I.I.T. Delhi

Abstract: This brief note lists three effects of deforestation on planetary climate change.
These effects include atmospheric turbulence, evaporative cooling and carbon absorption.

Widespread deforestation has taken place on the planet over the last century due
to human activity. While this deforestation affects the planet and all life that
dwells upon it in numerous ways, this note mentions three effects on climate
change that includes climate extremes

1. Atmospheric Turbulence

The greater the atmospheric turbulence, greater are the chances of unexpected
climatic phenomenon i.e. climate extremes. Winds move over the surface of earth
in what scientists call as atmospheric boundary layers. It is well known
phenomenon in turbulence science that turbulence in such boundary layers is
damped when roughness exists on the surface. Forests with tall trees are one
such roughness. Therefore the fewer the forests on land the greater the
atmospheric turbulence and greater the chances of climate extremes.

2. Evaporation from Trees

Evaporation from tree leaves absorbs the sun’s heat that falls on the planet. It is
for this reason, during day hours, forests are cooler than areas devoid of trees.
The heat thus absorbed is stored partly as bio matter in the tree and partly in
atmospheric water vapor generated. That heat is released when the vapor
condenses in a colder area. If there are fewer forests on the planet then less of this
phenomenon takes place. There is cross planetary heat transfer that takes place at
all times on the planet and this factor alone would contribute to colder winters in
the cold hemisphere of the planet while making summers hotter in the hot
hemisphere, in combination with a number of other causes that contribute to
climate. The present factor may be contributing to the heat wave in Australia and
the cold wave in North America being observed at the time of writing this note.

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Three Effects of Forests on Climate Change by Ashok Malhotra, January 29, 2019

3. Carbon Absorption

Presently there is much focus in the world on rising carbon emissions and their
influence on climate. Those concerned about this must note that trees are the
most environmentally friendly and cost effective way to absorb carbon dioxide.
This carbon dioxide is absorbed in leaves that eventually dry and fall year after
year creating fertile soil. Some of this is washed into the oceans with the help of
continental rivers where they increase organic matter in the oceans thus
increasing absorption of carbon dioxide in the oceans as well. More the
deforestation on the planet the lesser is this absorption of carbon dioxide.

Atmospheric science is a complicated phenomenon not fully amenable to


analysis even by modern science. Therefore the conclusions of the present note
need further study. Such studies are urgently needed because of their
contribution to the very quality of all life on the planet.

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