Can Extreme Weather Make Climate Change Worse? (More)

Devastating drought in the Southwest, unprecedented wildfire activity, scorching heat waves and other extreme weather are often cited as signs of a changing climate. But what if those extreme weather events themselves cause more extreme weather events, fueling climate change?

That’s one of the possibilities raised by a study released Wednesday that was conducted by a team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. The researchers have shown that extreme weather events may reduce an ecosystem’s capability to absorb carbon and create a damaging cycle in which extreme weather fuels climate change by preventing forests from absorbing carbon, allowing more of it to remain in the atmosphere.

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