Large-scale deforestation could cause monsoon rains to shift south, cutting rainfall in India by nearly a fifth warns this new study by Indian Institute of Science published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 

Biogeophysical effects such as albedo and evapotranspiration changes due to deforestation were shown by several studies in the past to exert strong influence on local surface temperatures. In this study, we assess the remote versus local effects of large-scale deforestation on precipitation in the monsoon regions of the world. In contrast to the dominant role of local effects on temperature changes, we find that the remote effects have a larger influence than local effects on shifting the location of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and hence precipitation in all the monsoon regions. This result has important implications for assessing the net benefits of climate change mitigation strategies such as afforestation/reforestation and for understanding changes in monsoon rainfall in past climates.