Impact on short-lived climate forcers increases projected warming due to deforestation

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The climate impact of deforestation depends on the relative strength of several biogeochemical and biogeophysical effects. In addition to affecting the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture with the atmosphere and surface albedo, vegetation emits biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) that alter the formation of short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs), which include aerosol, ozone and methane. Here we show that a scenario of complete global deforestation results in a net positive radiative forcing (RF; 0.12 W m-2) from SLCFs, with the negative RF from decreases in ozone and methane concentrations partially offsetting the positive aerosol RF. Combining RFs due to CO2, surface albedo and SLCFs suggests that global deforestation could cause 0.8 K warming after 100 years, with SLCFs contributing 8% of the effect. However, deforestation as projected by the RCP8.5 scenario leads to zero net RF from SLCF, primarily due to nonlinearities in the aerosol indirect effect.


  • C. E. Scott
  • S. A. Monks
  • D. V. Spracklen
  • S. R. Arnold
  • P. M. Forster
  • A. Rap
  • M. Äijälä
  • P. Artaxo
  • K. S. Carslaw
  • M. P. Chipperfield
  • M. Ehn
  • S. Gilardoni
  • L. Heikkinen
  • M. Kulmala
  • T. Petäjä
  • C. L.S. Reddington
  • L. V. Rizzo
  • E. Swietlicki
  • E. Vignati
  • C. Wilson
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Colorado
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • University of Helsinki
  • University of São Paulo
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra
  • NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)
  • Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
  • Federal University of São Paulo

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap
  • Klimatforskning
TidskriftNature Communications
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2018 dec 1
Peer review utfördJa