Smell of forest pine can limit climate change
New research suggests a strong link between the powerful smell of pine trees and climate change. Scientists say they've found a mechanism by which these scented vapours turn into aerosols above boreal forests. These particles promote cooling by reflecting sunlight back into space and helping clouds to form.
The research, published in the journal Nature, fills in a major gap in our understanding, researchers say. One of the biggest holes in scientific knowledge about climate change relates to the scale of the impact of atmospheric aerosols on temperatures. These particles form clouds that block sunlight as well as reflecting rays back into space.
They can be formed in a number of ways, including volcanic activity and by humans, through the burning of coal and oil. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they "continue to contribute the largest uncertainty to estimates and interpretations of the Earth's changing energy budget."
One of the most significant but least understood sources of aerosols are the sweet-smelling vapours found in pine forests in North America, northern Europe and Russia.