How do we deal with droughts and heat waves? “Targeted reforestation could save 7.5 percent of rain in Europe” | Environment

As climate change continues, we will increasingly see periods of drought and heat waves. Targeted reforestation in Europe could reverse this development. So say researchers from the Swiss ETH University in Zurich.

The team led by Ronnie Meyer estimated that realistic reforestation (14.4 percent of Europe’s surface) could increase summer precipitation by 7.6 percent. This corresponds to 0.13 mm per day. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found in more than a quarter of Europe an increase of more than 10 percent.

Climatologists used rainfall data collected at more than 5,800 monitoring stations from 1986 to 2015. They then analyzed the relationship between forests and precipitation levels. “On average, the amounts of precipitation are much higher in forest areas than in agricultural areas,” Meyer explains. Local influences are more pronounced in winter than in summer.

“The forest does not grow overnight”

Due to global warming, less rain is expected. According to the models, reforestation in Great Britain, western and southern France, Portugal and Eastern Europe could make up for a large part. However, Meyer said the geographic distribution of precipitation recovered in this way is highly variable. We don’t know yet whether reforestation will result in more frequent or heavier rains.

Finally, the professor also warns that expectations are too high for this solution: the forest does not grow overnight, but takes twenty to thirty years to become “mature”.

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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