Amazon Tropical Forest Now A CO2 Source

July 14, 2021

Some more climate-related news this Wednesday afternoon, and as such with the normal, seems like more bad news for the planet — and a quicker-major increase of CO2 into the air:

Evidence collected in the study was historic — using two sets of measurement gauges, one on the ground, and another taken by airplane, and research was conducted for nine years, which makes the data even more significant.
Details via The New York Times this afternoon:

Portions of the Amazon rainforest are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb — a troubling sign for the fight against climate change, a new study suggests.

Deforestation and an accelerating warming trend have contributed to change in the carbon balance, which is most severe in the southeastern region of the Amazon, where there are both rising temperatures and reduced rainfall in the dry season.
The most affected regions have warmed by 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit during the dry season in the last 40 years, comparable to the changes seen in the rapidly-warming Arctic.

The Amazon region, home to the planet’s largest tropical forests, has served as an important absorber of carbon dioxide.
Changing weather patterns have reduced its effectiveness as a buffer for climate change, and the conditions may be pushed even more by global warming, with still more carbon dioxide being released.
“This is a negative loop,” said Luciana Vanni Gatti, a scientist at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research and an author of the paper, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

And the study results also offer-up another heads-up warning on the way-seriousness of the climate crisis — per the Guardian, also this afternoon:

“This is a truly impressive study,” said Prof Simon Lewis, from University College London.
“Flying every two weeks and keeping consistent laboratory measurements for nine years is an amazing feat.”

“The positive feedback, where deforestation and climate change drive a release of carbon from the remaining forest that reinforces additional warming and more carbon loss is what scientists have feared would happen,” he said.
“Now we have good evidence this is happening. The south-east Amazon sink-to-source story is yet another stark warning that climate impacts are accelerating.”

Prof Scott Denning, at Colorado State University, said the aerial research campaign was heroic.
“In the south-east, the forest is no longer growing faster than it’s dying. This is bad — having the most productive carbon absorber on the planet switch from a sink to a source means we have to eliminate fossil fuels faster than we thought.”

Time be coming quickly — first graph from the Inside Climate News story on the study/research-paper: ‘Over the last several years researchers have said that the Amazon is on the verge of transforming from a crucial storehouse for heat-trapping gasses to a source of them, a dangerous shift that could destabilize the atmosphere of the planet.

Major problem: There’s way-too much other shit going on…

(Illustration out front found here).

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