Land use affects the composition of the atmosphere

Mar 01, 2011

Tropical deforestation not only has a large impact on the carbon cycle and climate, but also affects the chemistry of the atmosphere.

That conclusion, by Laurens Ganzeveld (researcher at Wageningen University, the Netherlands), was published in an article selected by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) as a "research spotlight". With such "spotlights" the AGU brings special publications to the attention of a wider audience.

With deforestation, carbon that has been held for decades or even thousands of years is released back into the atmosphere. But cutting down trees or forests also has effects on air currents and . Global changes in land use, such as tropical deforestation, may therefore lead to significant changes in weather patterns and changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere -- and to the associated changes in the climate.

Laurens Ganzeveld, together with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Cyprus Institute, studied the long-term effects of land use. Together with the and weather patterns land use can affect the concentrations of like methane and ozone. "Our research found that deforestation causes a complex combination of changes in emissions, deposition, and turbulence. The end-result by about 2050 could be, for example, more ozone at ground level compared to the concentrations above pristine ."

Laurens Ganzeveld could not say exactly why AGU had chosen this particular study as a Research Spotlight. "But it does indicate that this is an interesting topic. After publication, it quickly became the most popular article. In any case it is clear that the dynamic impact of land use has a much more complex effect on the composition of the atmosphere than has been represented in up to now."


Explore further: Green dream: Can UN summit revive climate issue?

More information: Click here for "Impact of future land use and land cover changes on atmospheric chemistry-climate interactions" by Laurens Ganzeveld et al. Journal of Geophysical Research.

Provided by Wageningen University

3.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Burning coal worse for climate than clearing rain forests

Nov 26, 2009

Deforestation has had a big influence on the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the past three centuries, but its impact is tapering off relatively. Nowadays, the burning of fossil fuels is a more crucial factor. ...

Scientists close in on missing carbon sink

Jun 21, 2007

Forests in the United States and other northern mid- and upper-latitude regions are playing a smaller role in offsetting global warming than previously thought, according to a study appearing in Science this week.

Recommended for you

Green dream: Can UN summit revive climate issue?

9 hours ago

Five years ago, the environment movement was in its heyday as politicians, actors, rock stars and protestors demanded a looming UN summit brake the juggernaut of climate change.

Rio's Olympic golf course in legal bunker

Sep 18, 2014

The return of golf to the Olympics after what will be 112 years by the time Rio hosts South America's first Games in 2016 comes amid accusations environmental laws were got round to build the facility in ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Howhot
1 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2011
With deforestation, carbon that has been held for decades or even thousands of years is released back into the atmosphere. But cutting down trees or forests also has effects on air currents and atmospheric composition. Global changes in land use, such as tropical deforestation, may therefore lead to significant changes in weather patterns and changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere -- and to the associated changes in the climate.


Seems very logical.