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March 3, 2009

Don't Count on the Rainforests

Scientists in Australia have discovered that one of the primary assumptions surrounding tropical rainforests - that they can continue to absorb massive amounts of carbon as the climate warms - is dead wrong. Business Green reports that according to this new research:
...even a two degree increase in average global temperatures will see the "carbon sink" effect currently provided by the world's rainforests cut in half.

It also calculates that should temperatures reach four degrees above pre-industrial levels, the rate of forest die-off will reach a level where rainforests become a net contributor to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, potentially triggering runaway climate change.

We're on a path to more than two degree warming right now. I wonder how this will look when NASA or the IPCC plugs this new data into their climate models. I'm thinking bad.

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