The Amazon rainforest is now likely warming Earth’s atmosphere, not cooling it, scientists warn – RT World News –

The Amazon rainforest is now likely warming Earth’s atmosphere, not cooling it, scientists warn – RT World News

Astounding new research by a group of more than 30 scientists suggests that the Amazon basin may become a net contributor to global warming, not cooling, in the coming years, if it hasn’t already.

The profound influence of the Amazon basin on global climate had previously earned it the illustrious title of ‘the lungs of the Earth’, but decades of forest fires, subsequent droughts and land clearing, under the umbrella term ‘deforestation’, they have wreaked havoc in the region. .

According to a recent study, the Amazon basin of approximately 7,000,000 square kilometers (2,700,000 square miles) is releasing more heat-trapping greenhouse gases than it stores in its plants and soils, meaning it can have become a net contributor to warming, not cooling, the planet.

In other words, humanity can no longer trust the so-called “Lungs of the Earth” to clean the air and offset emissions from burning fossil fuels.

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“Court [down] the forest is interfering with its absorption of carbon; that is a problem,” said ecologist and lead author Kristofer Covey at Skidmore College in New York.

“But when you start looking at these other factors along with CO2, it becomes really difficult to see how the net effect is not that the Amazon as a whole is actually warming the global climate.”

In total, the vast area encompassing territories belonging to nine South American nations could go from a carbon sink to an atmospheric carbon source as early as 2035, according to some estimates.

The Amazon basin currently emits more gases than it naturally absorbs, and not just carbon dioxide (CO2), but also nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), which degrade faster in the atmosphere but trap up to 300 times more heat per year. molecule while floating in the air.

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Prolonged and recurring droughts in the area reduce the watershed’s ability to absorb and trap CO2 while increasing the likelihood and eventual spread of wildfires as they occur, further compounding the problem in a negative feedback loop. .

The research team openly admits that there is a high degree of uncertainty in its results due to the scarcity of information on certain sections of the Amazon basin that have their own microclimates but are almost impossible to achieve and analyze to the same extent as the of the Amazon basin. sections covered in the study.

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