Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Forests cooler or warmer than open areas depending on latitude, study finds

A study that will be published in Nature on Thursday, Nov. 17, concludes that forests influence temperature, and their influence largely depends on latitude.

David Hollinger, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station, co-authored the article with principal investigator Xuhui Lee, a professor of meteorology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a research team that included 21 scientists from universities and research organizations in the United States, Canada, and Germany. The study was supported, in part, by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.

"Forests are complicated ecosystems with subtle climate system effects," Hollinger said. "This study underscores the need to retune climate models to reflect that complexity so we can get a better picture of the role forests play in the landscape."

Results are based on comparisons of air temperature recorded at meteorological towers located in forested areas in the United States and Canada and, as a proxy for cleared land, nearby surface weather stations operated by the National Weather Service and Environment Canada. In a review of data from Florida to Manitoba, researchers found forested land to be warmer than nearby open land north of 45 degrees latitude and cooler south of 35 degree latitude. Between 35 and 45 degrees latitude, forested and open land had similar temperatures.

North of 45 degrees, approximately the northern border of Vermont, temperatures recorded in forest interiors were warmer than temperatures recorded in open areas. This is largely because year-round night time temperatures in forests remain higher than open areas due to the mixing down of warm air aloft in forests. In addition, snow-covered open areas reflect sunlight while dark forests absorb sunlight and its warmth.

South of 45 degrees, maximum daytime temperatures in forested lands were lower than over nearby open land, but forest nighttime minimum temperatures were still higher. South of 35 degrees, approximately the southern border of Tennessee, the overall effect was reversed, with forests cooler than open land.

Forests represent one of the most extensive land use types, covering approximately 30 percent of the terrestrial surface. "This study makes it clear that at least in southern latitudes, there are important climatic benefits for maintaining or increasing forest cover," Hollinger said.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people's lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

Jane Hodgins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>