Scientists Identify a Temperature Tipping Point for Tropical Forests | Smithsonian Institution
South American forests store less carbon than forests in the Old World, perhaps due to evolutionary differences in which tree species are growing there.
They also found that the two most important factors predicting how much carbon is lost by forests are the maximum daily temperature and the amount of precipitation during the driest times of the year.
As temperatures reach 32.2 degrees Celsius, carbon is released much faster. Trees can deal with increases in the minimum nighttime temperature (a global warming phenomenon observed at some sites), but not with increases in maximum daytime temperature.
They predict that South American forests will be the most affected by global warming because temperatures there are already higher than on other continents and the projections for future warming are also highest for this region. Increasing carbon in the atmosphere may counterbalance some of this loss, but would also exacerbate warming.
Forests can adapt to warming temperatures, but it takes time. Tree species that cannot take the heat die and are gradually replaced by more heat-tolerant species. But that may take several human generations.