Reforestation removes CO2 from the atmosphere. Reforestation substantially cools the Earth’s land surfaces. Therefore, reforestation offers a “meaningful opportunity for local climate mitigation and adaptation”. So why are we focused on CO2 mitigation via reduction in fossil fuel use?
Cooling the surface via reforestation
A few months ago NoTricksZone featured a new study that determined global warming can be reversed via land cover changes. Forest losses can warm local temperatures by as much as 1°C within 10 years (Alkama and Cescatti, 2016).
Huang et al., 2020 found the opposite can occur too. When a region returns to forest and tree cover, cooling ensues.
And with a growing percentage of European forested areas returning, a “predominant regional biophysical cooling” with “an average temperature change of −0.12 ± 0.20 °C, with widespread cooling (up to −1.0 °C) in western and central Europe in summer and spring” has swept across Europe due to land cover changes in recent decades.
Image Source: Huang et al., 2020
Another new study finds reforestation may cool the local surface climate by up to 6°C
Now, results from another new study (Novick et al., 2020) suggest reforestation can mitigate “deleterious effects of climate warming” as it dramatically cools surface temperatures. Cooling from reforestation can reach magnitudes of 2-3°C for the air above the surface and 4-6°C for surface climate.
Further, as has been reported here recently, forest expansion substantially expands the Earth carbon sink and removes CO2 from the atmosphere such that future forest expansion, or greening, could offset 17 years of equivalent human CO2 emissions by 2100.
This easily supersedes the effect of Paris Agreement CO2 mitigation policies and suggests that global warming and CO2 emissions mitigation could far more easily and inexpensively be achieved by focusing on reforestation rather than fossil fuel reduction policies.