The rapid decline of Arctic sea ice during the last couple of decades has spurred climate scientists to study how that meltdown influences the rest of the planet, and a new study suggests that the effects may extend deep into the tropics. The study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, detected a pattern that links sea ice decline since the late 1990s with more frequent warm cycles in the Central Pacific Ocean. The surges of ocean heating in that region can disrupt the climate, affecting drought, flood and hurricane patterns around the world.
Inside Climate News 27th Jan 2020 read more »
The world’s tropical forests are losing their ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, while boreal forests are absorbing emissions at an increasingly fast rate, a study finds. The new analysis uses a combination of remote-sensing data and modelling to create a detailed picture of carbon loss and gain across all of Earth’s biomes from 1992 to 2015. It shows a diverging picture in the world’s two most important ecosystems for storing carbon on land: tropical rainforests and “boreal” forests, which are found in the cold climate of the high latitudes. The chief driver of carbon loss in tropical forests over the study period was deforestation. Particularly affected areas are likely to include the Amazon, Indonesia and southeastern Asia, the lead author tells Carbon Brief. It is not fully clear what is driving carbon gains in boreal forests, another scientist tells Carbon Brief. However, one likely driver is the “CO2 fertilisation effect” – a term describing how increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere can boost plant growth. Overall, the findings paint a comprehensive picture of a “worrying” shift in the ability of tropical forests to absorb CO2 emissions, she adds.
Carbon Brief 27th Jan 2020 read more »