Rainforest in Borneo
A new $100 million research project will examine how tropical forests interact with the planet’s climate system.
The ten-year study, called the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics (NGEE-Tropics), is a multi-national effort involving several institutions led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The initiative aims to develop a model that explains “how rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, increasing greenhouse gas levels, and other natural and human-induced changes affect tropical forests’ influence on Earth’s climate,” according to a press release issued by Berkeley Lab.
“Tropical forests cycle more carbon and water than any other biome, and as such they’re a critical player in the planet’s energy balance and in climate change. But there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Jeff Chambers, an ecologist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and the Principal Investigator and Project Director of NGEE-Tropics, in a statement. “Through NGEE-Tropics, we plan to dramatically reduce this uncertainty to improve future climate projections.”
Participating institutions include four other national labs — Brookhaven, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest — as well as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRU), the U.S. Forest Service, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, and Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research, among others. Research methods will range from lab work to plot-based field studies to remote sensing using satellites and LiDAR systems.