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Sustainability Events

Eco-Climate Teleconnections: Some thoughts about the climatic consequences of large-scale afforestation

Inez Fung

  • Director, Berkeley Institute of the Environment Professor of Atmospheric Science Department of Earth & Planetary Science and Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management University of California, Berkeley

In this Math Distinguished Lecture on Climate Change, Fung discusses large-scale afforestation as a strategy to slow the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere.

We have carried out a series of experiments using the NCAR global climate model to investigate its impact on the climate. At high-latitudes, transpiration increases the water vapor abundance, thus enhancing the greenhouse effect and triggering the melting of sea ice and further evaporation. At mid-latitudes, the soil moisture reservoir is finite, and the surface energy balance shifts to sensible heating when soil moisture can no longer support the transpiration. The warming of the northern hemisphere shifts the rainbelt in the tropics, drying the southern edges of the Amazon. As a result, net primary productivity decreases in regions remote from the afforested areas. The implication for carbon management will be discussed.

This event hosted by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Professor Eric Kostelich, and Senior Sustainability Scientist Alex Mahalov. It is free and open to the public.

Lecture Webcast »

Monday, March 5, 2012
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.