As Brazil ramps up sugarcane production, researchers foresee regional climate effects

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A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Institution for Science has found that future sugar cane plantations can help Brazil increase its ethanol production, while also decreasing regional temperature.

“When averaged over the entire year, there appears to be little effect on temperature,” said Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, a senior sustainability scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, and lead author of the paper. “However, the temperature fluctuation between the peak of the growing season, when cooling occurs relative to the prior landscape, and crop harvest, when warming occurs compared to the previous landscape, of about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considerable.”

Brazil is the second-largest producer and consumer of bioethanol, and based on new laws and trade agreements, the country's sugar cane production will increase tenfold during the next ten years.

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