Vast reforestation a major reason for ‘warming hole’ across parts of US where temperatures have flatlined or cooled

Trees provide innumerable benefits to the world, from food to shelter to oxygen, but researchers have now found their dramatic rebound in the eastern US has delivered a further, stunning feat – the curtailing of the soaring temperatures caused by the climate crisis.

While the US, like the rest of the world, has heated up since industrial times due to the burning of fossil fuels, scientists have long been puzzled by a so-called “warming hole” over parts of the US south-east where temperatures have flatlined, or even cooled, despite the unmistakable broader warming trend.

A major reason for this anomaly, the new study finds, is the vast reforestation of much of the eastern US following the initial loss of large numbers of trees in the wake of European settlement in America. Such large expanses have been reforested in the past century – with enough trees sprouting back to cover an area larger than England – that it has helped stall the affect of global heating.

“The reforestation has been remarkable and we have shown this has translated into the surrounding air temperature,” said Mallory Barnes, an environmental scientist at Indiana University who led the research. “The ‘warming hole’ has been a real mystery and while this doesn’t explain all of it, this research shows there is a really important link to the trees coming back.”

      • JJROKCZ
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        83 months ago

        I recently planted 3 trees when my uncle passed, the funeral home had a program where you could buy flowers or plant trees for the deceased. I chose to do both.

        There are certainly programs you can donate to that plant the trees somewhere for you if you don’t have space to do so.

        For a less legal option, just plant trees on other peoples unused lands. If they aren’t farming it or building on it they probably won’t notice or interfere with it

        • @[email protected]
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          63 months ago

          less legal option

          You also have the option of going around your city and neighborhoods clandestinely dumping seed bombs of local wildflowers and grass species

          • JJROKCZ
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            13 months ago

            Yea but idk how much those will attribute to climate cooling compared trees that provide lots of shade lol

            • @[email protected]
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              13 months ago

              Plant life in general absorbs heat and breathes out moisture, which cools the area and helps trees grow more robustly

      • prowess2956
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        43 months ago

        There are resources for renters as well. Off the top of my head, check with your local department of environmental protection / conservation, a local trail conference, or a local land trust. I was surprised as I started to learn all of the ways we can get involved in our public or conserved lands beyond greening whatever space we may “own.”

      • @[email protected]
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        23 months ago

        It doesn’t have to be on your property. Find a local environmental conservation org. Or tell your city council about this, and that they should plant more trees around town.

        • @[email protected]
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          13 months ago

          They did that in Portland, and now we have a bunch of dead trees because no one thought to make a plan to take care of them. City trees require a budget, and take too long to grow. Perhaps shrubberies?

    • @agent_flounder
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      53 months ago

      We put one in 20 years ago. But, yeah, we should be planting many many trees.

      • 𝕱𝖎𝖗𝖊𝖜𝖎𝖙𝖈𝖍
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        23 months ago

        cries in NYC

        The city planted a baby tree not too far from my old apartment. Not a month later, some asshole chopped it down, so now it’s just an empty dirt patch full of garbage. My current apartment is in a tree lined street and it’s soooo much nicer. I would looooove to see more trees around but I think the city is allergic to them :(

  • @[email protected]
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    73 months ago

    I live in Penn’s woods, I mean I can’t turn without hitting a tree. But it absolutely helps in the summer to have some of the sun blocked by leaves and maybe it has something in the way it regulates moisture but it often does feel cooler beneath or near one.