Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Forests damaged by Katrina may contribute to global warming

19.11.2007
Researchers led by biologist Jeffrey Chambers of Tulane University have determined that the losses inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on Gulf Coast forest trees are enough to cancel out a year’s worth of new tree biomass (trunks, branches and foliage) growth in other parts of the country.

“The carbon that will be released as these trees decompose is enough to cancel out an entire year’s worth of net gain by all U.S. forests. And this is only from a single storm,” says Chambers, lead author of an article detailing the team’s findings, “Hurricane Katrina’s Carbon Footprint on Gulf Coast Forests,” published in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science.

The study was carried out by researchers at Tulane and the University of New Hampshire. Using NASA satellite sensing technology, ecological field investigations and statistical analysis, the investigators estimate that 320 million large trees were killed or severely damaged by the August 2005 storm.

As the Earth’s climate warms, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes, tornados and frontal systems will gain in energy, producing more violent storms and stronger winds. Increased wind disturbance will cause more tree mortality and damage, and this dead wood will release additional carbon to the atmosphere, potentially amplifying global warming.

Young, healthy forests play a vital role in removing carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, and are thus important in the battle against warming. These young forests are valued as “carbon sinks,” removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as growing vegetation.

The total amount of carbon stored in a forest is the result of the growth of new and existing trees, and tree death from age and disturbance. Dead trees and downed wood decompose and release carbon to the atmosphere. Thus, an increase in disturbance frequency, for example from more powerful storms, can tilt this balance toward the loss side, reversing the storing process and becoming a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

This increase in carbon emissions can enhance global warming in what is termed by scientists a “positive feedback mechanism.” Increased carbon dioxide warms the climate, causing more intense storms and elevated tree mortality, releasing yet more carbon dioxide and further warming the climate.

Arthur Nead | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tulane.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>