Across Appalachia

New Studies Look at Southeast, Climate Change

Date: April 8, 2015

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By Eliza Laubach

Scientists gained new insight into how effectively forests capture carbon dioxide and mitigate climate change. Adolescent forests absorb more carbon than young or old forests, the study, published in Scientific Reports, found. National Forest Service researchers observed southeastern forests in 11 states, many in Appalachia, and found that disturbance and land-use changes are important considerations when assessing the region’s carbon absorption potential.

Carbon dioxide emissions greatly impact climate change, and forests absorb the gas through photosynthesis. The Southeast contains more forested land than 96 percent of the countries who reported to the United Nations, and southeastern forests produce around 15 percent of the world’s wood products.

Changing weather patterns may bring more tornadoes to the Southeast, according to a study published in Climatic Change. Scientists at the College of DuPage compared climate modeling data from 1980-1990 to predictions for 2080-2090 and forecasted more severe spring thunderstorms that breed tornadoes across the Southeast, especially in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helps residents affected by the most severe weather, announced that states without a hazard mitigation plan that addresses climate change will lose funding starting in 2016.

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