03 Jul '12, 11pm

Pre-industrial deforestation still warming atmosphere

Jeremy Hance mongabay.com July 03, 2012 Terraced rice paddies in Yunnan. Many of China's current agricultural areas were made by clearing forests and other natural vegetation hundreds to thousands of years ago. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler. Fossil fuels were not burned in massive quantities prior to the Industrial Revolution, but humans were still pumping carbon into the atmosphere due to land use change, especially deforestation. In fact, a new study in Environmental Research Letters finds that deforestation prior to 1850 is still heating up our atmosphere today. "The relatively small amounts of carbon dioxide emitted many centuries ago continue to affect atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and our climate today, though only to a relatively small extent," says co-author Julia Pongratz with the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in a press release. When a forest or ot...

Full article: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0703-hance-preindustrial-de...

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