February 2, 2014 – A new study of tropical rainforests by researchers at University of Exeter concludes the following:
- For every increase in atmospheric temperatures of 1 Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) the tropics release 2 billion extra tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
- The GHGs have been seen as a potential stimulus to rainforest growth but the extra heat more than offsets the benefit by introducing increased drought.
For those who believe that the CO2 we produce will actually improve plant growth the study provides a sobering conclusion.
Professor Peter Cox, a co-author of the study that appears in the journal, Nature, states, “What we are seeing is that the tropical forests in particular are becoming more vulnerable to warming and we expect this to continue because we expect to see more warming in the future…..the temperature effect caused by increasing CO2 concentrations is probably becoming stronger.”
Whereas the ocean is a stable carbon sink for sequestering CO2, land-based carbon sinks are highly variable depending on changing seasons, precipitation and weather. The climate models to date have not taken into account land-based carbon sinks impacted by rising temperatures. And drought appears to be the single greatest outcome of these expected temperature changes from increasing GHGs from human activity.