How is deforestation affecting climate change?
Deforestation is a significant issue in countries like Brazil and Indonesia, where the natural world is being destroyed at an alarming rate. But what does it mean for climate change?
Forests as a carbon sink
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it within the tree as bark and roots. When trees are cut down, this carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Currently, deforestation accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year, which means that cutting down trees contributes to climate change.
It doesn't matter if the action is occurring somewhere far from home, it's a global issue, and we all need to take responsibility to help.
How forests directly impact the cloudscape
An often overlooked aspect of forests is their impact on the amount of water entering the atmosphere. This is a prominent feature within areas such as the Amazon. Large amounts of water are being released every day during the biological process known as transpiration. This water forms a dense layer of low-level cumulus clouds over the forest.
Although research on long-term cloud interaction with climate is still in its infancy, we know that altitude and cloud type affect clouds' influence on global warming. For instance, high-level cirrus clouds effectively warm the planet by allowing the Sun's radiation through but then reradiating heat from the Earth. Conversely, low-level cumulus clouds act to cool the Earth by blocking out additional radiation from above.
So, with fewer forests covering the Earths surface, we are not only losing a massive carbon sink, but we are also effectively removing a radiation shield.
What can I do to help stop deforestation?
If you want to try and stop deforestation, there are a few things you can do. Here are some ideas of actions you can take today:
Sign petitions to add more momentum to help stop deforestation
Support different environmental charities that are fighting to stop deforestation
Use your consumer power and stop shopping at supermarkets and with businesses that are adding to the deforestation crisis</li>
Support businesses that are creating positive change by supporting major environmental causes
Eco-gaming with Virtue Gaming
What if you could play video games, whilst helping the environment too? At Virtue Gaming, we put a portion of our profits back into both the local and global community to make a positive difference to our world. Find out more about our games here.