David Galbraith investigates tropical forests' resilience to global warming
Tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass – plants and plant material - suggests a study published by Nature Geoscience.
The online study in this week's Nature Geoscience, has suggested that tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass in response to greenhouse gas emissions over the twenty-first century.
In the most comprehensive simulation study yet of the risk of tropical forest dieback due to climate change, the results have important implications for the future evolution of tropical rainforests including the role they play in the global climate system and carbon cycle.
The research team comprised climate scientists and tropical ecologists from the UK, USA, Australia and Brazil and was led by Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK.
Dr. David Galbraith, Dr. Simon Lewis, Professor Emanuel Gloor and Professor Oliver Phillips from the School of Geography are co-authors on this paper, published in a high impact journal.
Dr David Galbraith from the School of Geography said, "This study highlights why we must improve our understanding of how tropical forests respond to increasing temperature and drought. Different vegetation models currently simulate remarkable variability in forest sensitivity to climate change. And while these new results suggest that tropical forests may be quite resilient to warming, it is important also to remember that other factors not included in this study, such as fire and deforestation, will also affect the carbon stored in tropical forests. Their impacts are also difficult to simulate. It is therefore critical that modelling studies are accompanied by further comprehensive forest observations."
The research team came from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK), National Center for Atmospheric Research (USA), The Australian National University (Australia), CCST/Inst Nacl Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) (Brazil), James Cook University (Australia), University of Leeds (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Exeter (UK), University of Sheffield (UK), Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), University College London (UK), and the University of Edinburgh, (UK).
This research was supported by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the UK NERC QUEST, TROBIT and AMAZONICA (NE/F005806/1) initiatives, the Moore Foundation, the Natural Environment Research Council, ARC-Australia, joint DECC and Defra Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme funding, the Brazilian Research Council, the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation, the European Research Council and the Royal Society.
The full article can be accessed here
Reference: Chris Huntingford, Przemyslaw Zelazowski, David Galbraith, Lina M. Mercado, Stephen Sitch, Rosie Fisher, Mark Lomas, Anthony P.Walker, Chris D. Jones, Ben B. B. Booth, Yadvinder Malhi, Debbie Hemming, Gillian Kay, Peter Good, Simon L. Lewis, Oliver L. Phillips, Owen K. Atkin, Jon Lloyd, Emanuel Gloor, Joana Zaragoza-Castells, Patrick Meir, Richard Betts, Phil P. Harris, Carlos Nobre, Jose Marengo and Peter M. Cox (2013) Simulated resilience of tropical rainforests to CO2-induced climate change, Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038/NGEO1741
NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing world-class research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, food security, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more. NERC receives around £300m a year from the government's science budget, which it uses to fund research and training in universities and its own research centres. www.nerc.ac.uk
For further details contact: Dr. David Galbraith