Climatic effects of changes in radiative forcing due to clear-cutting in Sweden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi och ekosystemvetenskap

Abstract: Land cover conversion affects climate by imposing changes in the surface properties and carbon dioxide fluxes. Forest management programs often disregard that modification in surface albedo influences the exchange of energy and climate sensitivity. By taking into account the role of vegetation in shaping the atmospheric circulation, forest harvesting not always leads to the warming of the climate. This study aims to determine the net climatic effect of clear-cutting in high-latitude regions by examining the importance of biogeophysical and biogeochemical climate drivers, albedo and carbon dioxide in Sweden. Comparative analysis between forest and clear-cut sites on 56°, 60° and 64°N was performed in order to account for different climatic conditions at various latitudes. Data on shortwave incoming radiation, shortwave outgoing radiation and carbon dioxide release from clear-cutting was retrieved from the selected study sites and converted to comparable radiative forcing by albedo change and radiative forcing by carbon dioxide release from clear-cutting. The findings reveal that the magnitude of the net radiative forcing by clear-cutting differs within high-latitudes. Although with a low confidence level due to the lack of available data, the outcome underlines results from previous studies by indicating that clear-cutting in northern Sweden might induce climate cooling but could also lead to climate warming in southern and central Sweden.

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