Recent research suggests that reforesting Europe could reduce the number of damaging storms by up to 80%
Plant enough trees and you’ll be able to take the oomph out of damaging storms. That’s the message that is coming out of a study published in Environmental Research Letters, which suggests that major reforestation across Europe has the potential to reduce the number of extra-tropical cyclones by as much as 80%.
Scientists from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute used a climate model to compare the number and intensity of cyclones under two scenarios: Europe devoid of trees and Europe covered in trees. Forests make the land bumpier (than a field of wheat say) and the results suggest that this extra friction helps to slow cyclones down. The results show that a tree-covered Europe would have around 10% fewer cyclones on western European coasts, rising to 80% fewer cyclones in eastern Europe. That’s because most cyclones approach from the west, meaning those that reach eastern Europe have to bounce over more trees.