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Climate change studies focus of distinguished lecture with Berkeley director

February 24, 2012

Afforestation – the establishment of a forest where there was no forest previously –  is one possible proposed solution to slow the growing CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. But will this proposal actually have a positive impact on the greenhouse effect?

Inez Fung, professor of atmospheric science and founding director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, has studied climate change for the past 20 years and says this proposed solution will in fact enhance the greenhouse effect, triggering further melting of sea ice.

Fung will discuss her studies and the implications for carbon management in her lecture, “Eco-climate teleconnections: some thoughts about the climate consequences of large-scale afforestation” at 1:30 p.m., March 5, in the Memorial Union Turquoise room.

Fung’s research group has been investigating the impact of afforestation on climate using the National Center for Atmospheric Research global climate model.  Findings are showing that mid-latitude climates, those climate areas that are affected by both tropical and polar air-masses, will eventually no longer be able to support transpiration; the loss of water vapor in plants. In high-latitude climates, the regions that are affected by polar and artic air-masses, the opposite occurs. The results of this will affect the photosynthesis process in regions remote to the afforestation areas. 

Fung’s investigations in climate modeling predict a coevolution of CO2 and climate, concluding that the land and sea’s diminished capacities to store carbon will accelerate global warming.

Fung joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1998 as the first Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences and founding director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center and Berkeley Institute of the Environment. She is also a recent subject in a biography series by the National Academy of Sciences for middle-school students titled, “Women’s Adventures in Science.”

This distinguished lecture series is sponsored by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Science. It is free and open to the public. An abstract and more information on Fung and her research are online at

For more information on this and other lectures presented by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences visit or contact 480-965-0210.

Caleen Canady,
School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences