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“Hotter-Drought Fingerprint” – Can Earth’s Forests Survive Global Warming? – SciTechDaily

Forest in Morocco

Taken in 1993, this photo shows the mortality of historical forests of Atlas Cedar in Morocco. Credit: Csaba Mátyás, professor emeritus, University of Sopron, Hungary

Global team of scientists determine ‘fingerprint’ for how much heat, drought is too much for forests.

The authors conclude that limiting Earth’s warming will determine survivability for many of Earth’s forests.

How hot is too hot, and how dry is too dry, for the Earth’s forests? A new study from an international team of researchers found the answers – by looking at decades of dying trees.

Just published in the journal Nature Communications, the study compiles the first global database of precisely georeferenced forest die-off events, at 675 locations dating back to 1970. The study, which encompasses all forested continents, then compares that information to existing climate data to determine the heat and drought climatic conditions that caused these documented tree mortality episodes.

“In this study, we’re letting the Earth’s forests do the talking,” said William Hammond, a International Tree Mortality Network to host the database online and to allow others to submit additional observations of forest mortality to the database.

The organization, founded and coordinated by co-author Henrik Hartmann from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, among others, is a collaborative effort between scientists on every forested continent and aims to coordinate international research efforts on forest die-off events. Hammond is the network’s data management group leader.

EXPLAINERS

‘Georeferenced’

Using maps or aerial images, scientists assign to them real-world coordinates.

‘Ground-truthed’

Information confirmed or validated by direct observation and measurement. In the case of machine learning, it refers to checking results for

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