Impacts of tropical deforestation. Part I

Process analysis of local climatic change

H. Zhang, A. Henderson-Sellers, K. McGuffie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

133 Citations (Scopus)


The potential impacts of deforestation in the humid Tropics are examined using a version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's CCM1 coupled with the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme package. Tropical deforestation in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia is studied using the results from an 11-yr deforestation experiment and a 25-yr control integration. It is found that the local-scale impact (here defined as within the area deforested) varies greatly between the three deforested regions due to the differing controls on the local atmospheric circulation: the Southeast Asian monsoon is much less sensitive to deforestation than the low-level flow over South America. The analysis of the changes in cloud radiative forcing suggests that reduction in cloud amount can significantly mitigate the imposed increases in surface albedo. The importance of water recycling by the forest canopy is stressed in the simulation of local precipitation changes. Correlation analysis of the changes resulting from the deforestation has been used to determine the nature of the processes that follow from the removal of the forest canopy and to suggest the important processes. The role of large-scale dynamics is explored in a companion paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1497-1517
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996

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