It appears that something good can come from something bad. Although rising global temperatures are causing seasonal snow cover to melt earlier in the spring, this allows for the snow-free boreal forests to absorb more carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

Global warming is primarily caused by carbon dioxide emissions from human activities such as burning coal, the oil and gas industry, transportation and domestic heating. As global temperatures rise, we see changes in Earth’s climate such as the accelerated melting of glaciers, rising sea levels and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather conditions.

To predict the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere accurately, scientists need to consider both the sources of emissions as well as the absorption of carbon dioxide both on land and in the oceans. Boreal forests are well known to be an important carbon sink on land, but the amount of carbon these high-latitude northern forests can absorb is influenced by the amount of snow cover.