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What Do Trees Have to Do With It?

We know that global warming causes more hurricanes, but do trees have anything to do with global warming?

Biologist Jeffrey Chambers discovered that the losses inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on Gulf Coast forest trees were enough to cancel out a year's worth of new tree growth in other parts of the country. And trees absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

Chamber says, "The carbon that will be released as these trees decompose is enough to cancel out an entire year's worth of net gain by all US forests. And this is only from a single storm." Investigators estimate that 320 million large trees were killed or severely damaged by the August 2005 storm.

As the Earth's climate warms, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes, tornados and frontal systems will gain in energy, producing more violent storms and stronger winds. Increased wind disturbance will cause more tree mortality and damage, and this dead wood will release additional carbon to the atmosphere, potentially making global warming worse.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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