North American and Amazon Forest Lungs Shutting Down

Via Climate Nexus: Trees might suck a little less – The power of North American forests to become an effective mechanism to absorb carbon from the atmosphere could diminish due to global warming. According to a study in Ecology Letters, longer, hotter summer could not only make forests unhealthy, it could also stunt their growth, diminishing their ability to act as carbon sinks.

The authors challenge previous studies projecting that the warming world will make North American trees bigger, by arguing there is a tipping point to the benefit. According to the authors, by 2075 North America could become 43°F hotter than it was 1925 and slow the growth of trees by 75 percent in the American Southwest and north to the Rocky Mountains, Canada and Alaska. (H/T Climate Nexus)

The BBC reports on the study:

A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees’ growth rates, a study has shown.

The term carbon sink refers to the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees’ mortality rate went up while growth rates declined.

The findings have been published by the Global Biogeochemical Cycles journal.

The Amazon Basin is a key player in the Earth’s carbon cycle, holding 17% of the terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.

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