Based on the statistics, between 25 and 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans have a severe impact on forests, but these forests are also a valuable asset to slow down climate change.
A team of researchers conducted a study in which they combined the historic tree-ring records from the whole North American continent with future climate model projections. The target of the research was to establish how the tree-growth rate will be affected by a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The findings have revealed that forests will no longer be able to deal successfully with elevated levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the future.
In other words, climate change, caused by air pollution, will have a severe impact on North American forests in just a couple of years if active measures are not taken immediately. Besides the fact that these forests will no longer be able to deal with carbon dioxide emissions, trees will be smaller and fewer, based on experts’ calculations.
The team from the University of Arizona in Tucson used the climate projections developed by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and combined them with 1,457 tree samples gathered between 1900 and 1950.
This way, researchers were able to predict the impact of air pollution. According to Noah Charney, first author of the study and postdoctoral research associate in UA’s Department of Ecology, the second step of the survey was to monitor the tree growth of those forests in association with climates.
That is how researchers were able to calculate how trees will be affected in the future. According to Brian Enquist, co-author, and a fellow of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in Aspen, Colorado, the changes of rainfall and temperatures combined with air pollution will affect the tree growth.
These findings have answered many previous questions regarding the shifting rainfall patterns, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and warmer temperatures.
It is also worth mentioning that the most severe changes occurred in the interior West of the North American continent. These statistics increased to 75 percent, meaning that the tree growth was severely slowed in the SW United States, along the Rockies, through Alaska and Canada as well.
There were only a few areas in which an increased tree growth was observed including the Florida panhandle, the Maritime Provinces, Northeastern Quebec, and the coastal area of the Pacific Northeast.