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Saturday, November 14, 2009

A. Montenegro et al., Glob. Planet. Change, 2009, Net carbon drawdown of small scale afforestation from satellite observations

Global and Planetary Change, 16 September 2009; doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2009.08.005   

The net carbon drawdown of small scale afforestation from satellite observations

Alvaro Montenegro¹*, Michael Eby¹, Qiaozhen Mu², Mark Mulligan³, Andrew J. Weaver¹, Edward C. Wiebe¹ and Maosheng Zhao²

¹University of Victoria, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Canada

²The University of Montana, College of Forestry and Conservation, U.S.A.

³King's College London, Department of Geography, U.K.

(Received 15 April 2009; accepted 23 August 2009.Available online 16 September 2009.)


Climate models indicate that warming due to increase in shortwave absorption from the lowering of albedo caused by afforestation reduces and can even overcome, particularly at high latitudes, the cooling caused by the carbon drawdown. We use high resolution (0.05 × 0.05° to 1 × 1°) global satellite observations to investigate the effects of afforestation. Results are markedly different from the coarser (~ 2.5 × ~ 2.5°) model-based studies. Between 40°S and 60°N afforestation always results in cooling. Many of the areas with the highest net carbon drawdown (drawdown after albedo effects) are at high latitudes. There is large zonal variability in drawdown and latitude is not a good indicator of afforestation efficiency. The overall efficiency of afforestation, defined as the net carbon drawdown divided by the total drawdown, is about 50%. By only considering the total drawdown and not considering albedo effects, the Kyoto Protocol carbon accounting rules grossly overestimate the cooling caused by afforestation drawdown.

*Corresponding author: now at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada.

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