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An alarming shift in the Amazon: Part of the forest now emits more carbon dioxide than it absorbs

An alarming shift in the Amazon: Part of the forest now emits more carbon dioxide than it absorbs

Deforestation and climate change impair the ability of the Amazon to absorb carbon dioxide2 to include . Scientists write that in the trade magazine nature After years of measurements by planes over the area. It is the longest aerial study of the world’s largest tropical forest.

You can safely describe it as a major setback, according to co-author Wouter Peters (University of Wageningen), a member of an international team that has been collecting measurement data over the Amazon for the past nine years. This data shows that the entire region has less carbon dioxide2 Picks up than expected.

In the most disturbing part, southwest of the Amazon, total carbon dioxide2Uptake by photosynthesis – the “breathing” of plants – and emissions from rotting leaves and deciduous trees are net positive. In other words, this part of the forest emits more carbon dioxide2 than it can absorb, even if the extra carbon dioxide2Forest fire emissions are not taken into account.

That’s while measurement series from the 1950s show that all plants around the world have about 2 percent more carbon dioxide أكسيد2 Absorbs from emitted. This effect has offset nearly a quarter of all fossil fuel emissions since 1960 According to scientists last year.

‘Not what we had hoped for’

But in the Amazon, that contribution is now at risk of evaporating, according to data collected by researchers by planes over the region for nine years. Add to the impact of the wildfires and every part of the Amazon is currently emitting net carbon dioxide2 from. “It’s not exactly what we were hoping for,” Peters says. According to him, that could mean we’re changing our climate models – which assume that the Amazon has a lot of carbon dioxide.2 Includes – need to be modified.

It is not clear from the current research the reason for disappointing. On the one hand, scientists previously predicted an increase in carbon dioxide2 In the atmosphere it also leads to the growth of plants and trees that absorb all this carbon dioxide2 inhale. But if that’s the case, you’d expect net CO2 uptake2 In an area like the Amazon is on the rise.

“Apparently, on the other side of the equation, CO2 emissions2, so also an effect that offsets this increase,” he says. For example, the study showed that the dry seasons in the forest were lasting longer and longer due to climate change. The balance between carbon dioxide in those exact periods was2Absorption and emission are becoming increasingly unfavorable.

Amazon region.RV . picture

According to Gert-Jan Nabuurs, who is also affiliated with the University of Wageningen but was not involved in this research, the research makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the Amazon. “We haven’t had atmospheric measurements for nine years,” he says. “So far, most measurements have been taken from fixed points on the ground or at monitoring stations directly above the treetops.”

The study raises many new questions. “It seems we still don’t understand how CO2The uptake of these types of natural forests is progressing neatly,” he says. “I am contributing to the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which we summarize our knowledge of climate change with which we want to make policy makers wiser. But results like these mean that it is more difficult than we had hoped to tangibly calculate the impact of political actions such as the Paris Agreements on our changing climate.”

According to Peters, you can draw one conclusion down the line. “We don’t really understand why CO2The recording is very disappointing, but deforestation in this area has taken a major additional blow. We really need to better protect the Amazon rainforest.”

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