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14 Sep

Forests’ carbon uptake will be compromised by climate change, leaf temperature study suggests

A new study led by Oregon State University suggests leaves in forest canopies are not able to cool themselves below the surrounding air temperature, likely meaning trees' ability to avoid damaging temperature increases, and to pull carbon from the atmosphere, will be compromised in a warmer, drier climate. The findings by an international collaboration that included researchers from multiple universities and government agencies contrast with a prevailing theory in the scientific community that canopy leaves can keep their temperature within an optimal range for photosynthesis -- the process through which green plants make their food from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research is important for understanding and predicting plant responses to climate...
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12 Sep

Turning over a new leaf: Local mountain climate is affected by leaf area ratio

Research finds that the leaf area index of mixed-forests influences seasonal changes in the formation of a nocturnal cold-air pool at a small mountain basin in central Japan The changing seasons tell us much about the workings of nature. Now, a research group from Japan has discovered that the seasonal changes of tree leaf growth and shedding can have a big influence on climate even on small, local scales. Forests act as intermediaries between the atmosphere and land, reducing surface wind speeds and controlling surface heat budgets, as well as indirectly affecting cloud formation and the energy-water cycle. The forest canopy protects the forest floor from sunlight and reduces diurnal variations in surface air temperature. These effects may alter not only forest...
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