Quantifying the trade-off between carbon sequestration and albedo in midlatitude and high-latitude North American forests

P. M. Mykleby, P. K. Snyder, T. E. Twine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Afforestation is a viable and widely practiced method of sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, because of a change in surface albedo, placement of less reflective forests can cause an increase in net-absorbed radiation and localized surface warming. This effect is enhanced in northern high latitudes where the presence of snow cover exacerbates the albedo difference. Regions where afforestation could provide a climate benefit are determined by comparing net ecosystem production and net radiation differences from afforestation in midlatitude and high latitude of North America. Using the dynamic vegetation model Integrated Biosphere Simulator, agricultural version (Agro-IBIS), we find a boundary through North America where afforestation results in a positive equivalent carbon balance (cooling) to the south, and a negative equivalent carbon balance (warming) to the north. Including the effects of stand age and fraction cover affect whether a site contributes to mitigating global warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2493-2501
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2017

Keywords

  • North America
  • albedo
  • biogeochemistry
  • biophysics
  • carbon sequestration
  • ecosystem modeling

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