Tower, ground-based and satellite observations indicate that tropical deforestation results in warmer, drier conditions at the local scale. Understanding the regional or global impacts of deforestation on climate, and ultimately on agriculture, requires modelling. General circulation models show that completely deforesting the tropics could result in global warming equivalent to that caused by burning of fossil fuels since 1850, with more warming and considerable drying in the tropics. More realistic scenarios of deforestation yield less warming and less drying, suggesting critical thresholds beyond which rainfall is substantially reduced. In regional, mesoscale models that capture topography and vegetation-based discontinuities, small clearings can actually enhance rainfall. At this smaller scale as well, a critical deforestation threshold exists, beyond which rainfall declines. Future agricultural productivity in the tropics is at risk from a deforestation-induced increase in mean temperature and the associated heat extremes and from a decline in mean rainfall or rainfall frequency. Through teleconnections, negative impacts on agriculture could extend well beyond the tropics.
Apoyo a RAISG