Land Use Changes

My story on Johannes Feddema’s paper on the global effects of land use changes finally ran in this morning’s paper. Forgive the headline. I tried to play the bait and switch game in the story and I guess I didn’t get away with it – at least with the copy editor who wrote the headline. The bait was the model’s tantalizing suggestion that deforestation in the Amazon could make New Mexico’s summer’s wetter. The switch was the caution from Feddema that the study was less a prediction than a sensitivity analysis, suggesting big effects from land use changes without being too specific yet about what they might be.

You probably shouldn’t buy another umbrella right away. The research is preliminary, said Johannes Feddema of the University of Kansas, who led the study.

But the complex daisy chain of continental-scale atmospheric changes in his simulation is a clear indication that large-scale land use changes have the potential to change climate around the globe, Feddema said.

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