Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Canopy structure more important to climate than leaf nitrogen levels, study claims

Date:
December 3, 2012
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Claims that forest leaves rich in nitrogen may aid in reflecting infrared radiation -- thereby cooling the atmosphere -- have been challenged by new research that shows that the structure of forests' canopies is a more important factor in infrared reflection.

Claims that forest leaves rich in nitrogen may aid in reflecting infrared radiation -- helping cool the atmosphere -- have been challenged by new research that shows that the structure of tree canopies is a more important factor in infrared reflection.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

Claims that forest leaves rich in nitrogen may aid in reflecting infrared radiation -- helping cool the atmosphere -- have been challenged by new research that shows that the structure of tree canopies is a more important factor in infrared reflection.

Related Articles


Recent studies have noticed a strong positive correlation between the concentration of nitrogen in forests and infrared reflectance measured from aircraft and satellites. Some scientists have suggested this demonstrates a previously overlooked role for nitrogen in regulating Earth's climate system.

However, a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that the apparent relationship between leaves' nitrogen levels and infrared reflection is spurious and it is in fact the structure of forest canopies (the spatial arrangement of the leaves) that determines their ability to reflect infrared light.

The authors, including Professor Philip Lewis and Dr Mathias Disney (UCL Geography), show that the richer in nitrogen individual leaves are the worse at reflecting infrared radiation they become. However, the complex arrangements of trees with radically different arrangements of leaves within a forest can act to mask this effect, making it appear as if higher levels of leaf nitrogen are leading to increased infrared reflection.

Dr Disney said: "It is impossible to understand how forests reflect infrared without taking into account the arrangement of different types of leaf clumps, such as shoots and crowns, which make up the canopy, as well as the internal structure of the leaves.

"This paper proposes a way to account for structure when measuring canopy infrared reflectance. We hope it will improve our ability to measure forest biochemistry from satellites, allowing us to better quantify forests' current state and how they are responding to climate change."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University College London. "Canopy structure more important to climate than leaf nitrogen levels, study claims." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163526.htm>.
University College London. (2012, December 3). Canopy structure more important to climate than leaf nitrogen levels, study claims. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163526.htm
University College London. "Canopy structure more important to climate than leaf nitrogen levels, study claims." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163526.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins