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A new study finds that tropical trees are better at combating global warming than trees in higher latitudes.
“Our study shows that only tropical rainforests are strongly beneficial in helping slow down global warming,” said study team leader Govindasamy Bala of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Trees in snowy places like Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia absorb sunlight that would otherwise be reflected back to space by the bright white snow.
But tropical rainforests trap larger amounts of carbon dioxide and evaporate more water to produce clouds that reflect sunlight back to space.
By simulating the effects of deforestation in different parts of the world, the study, found that deforestation in the tropics is more devastating to Earth’s climate than deforestation in higher latitudes, and that trees in mid-to high-latitudes could actually cause warming.