chapter  9
16 Pages

The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: relevance to climate-change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases

ByRoger A. Pielke Sr, Gregg Marland, Richard A. Betts, Thomas N. Chase, Joseph L. Eastman, John O. Niles, Dev dutta S. Niyogi and Steven W. Running

Policy-related quantification of human influences on climate has focused largely on changes in atmospheric composition. However, a large body of work has demonstrated that land-cover change provides an additional major forcing of climate, through changes in the physical properties of the land surface. The global radiative forcing by surface albedo change may be comparable with that due to anthropogenic aerosols, solar variation and several of the greenhouse gases. Moreover, in regions of intensive human-caused land-use change such as North America, Europe and southeast Asia, the local radiative-forcing change caused by surface albedo may actually be greater than that due to all the well-mixed anthropogenic greenhouse gases together (IPCC 2001).