U.K. studies gain new data for climate models



The interactions between the atmosphere and the vegetation beneath it are a subject that is currently receiving worldwide attention. Large-scale changes in vegetation, such as deforestation in the tropics and the degradation of grazing land in Africa, may produce changes in climate that could extend beyond the areas where those changes are taking place. In theory the effects of vegetation changes on climate can be predicted by using meteorological models of the atmosphere's global-circulation (global circulation models, or GCMs). Unfortunately, there is currently a lack of calibration data to describe the surface energy balance of the existing vegetation, particularly in those very areas most affected.