Tropical forests are crucial for sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Tropical forests are crucial for sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But they’re also subject to intense storms that can cause “windthrow” – the uprooting or breaking of trees. These downed trees decompose, potentially turning a forest from a carbon sink into a carbon source.
A new study finds that more extreme thunderstorms from climate change will likely cause a greater number of large windthrow events in the Amazon rainforest. This is one of the few ways that researchers have developed a link between storm conditions in the atmosphere and forest mortality on land, helping fill a major gap in models.
“Building this link between atmospheric dynamics and damage at the surface is very important across the board,” said Jeff Chambers, a senior faculty scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and director of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)-Tropics project, which performed the research. “It’s not just for the tropics. It’s high-latitude, low-latitude, temperate-latitude, here in the U.S.”
Read more at: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Members of NGEE-Tropics visit what they named “Blowdown Gardens,” an area that experienced windthrow near one of their field sites in the Amazon. Researchers have found a relationship between atmospheric conditions and large areas of tree death. (Photo Credit: Jeff Chambers/Berkeley Lab)