Scientists from seven international institutes, who were involved in this research, pointed out that this seemingly small effect of forests could reduce warming by as much as 30% on a local scale in the regions of Siberia, North Canada and the Nordic nations. In warmer regions, such as the Amazon and Congo, the offset is found to be around 1%.
Based on data from 11 sites across Europe, North America, Russia and southern Africa, the study showed that as temperatures increase, plants emit small particles, similar to water droplets, which form clouds. These clouds reflect sunlight back and consequently slow down further warming.
Although other small particles, such as various pollutants, mainly introduced by human activities could have the same effect, they do increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The innovative aspect of the study comes from the fact that the role of nature, and the emission of gases by plants, are now explained. The study raises yet again the issue of protecting world’s forests, but this time providing clear evidence of the cooling effect these ecosystems have.