What’s the connection? Maybe nothing, but weather seems to have gone wild. Is it really from human causes? We do know that exponential increases in population demanding ever more productive food production cannot be sustained. We don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows…
Two severe Amazon droughts in 5 years alarms scientists
February 3, 2011
New research shows that the 2010 Amazon drought may have been even more devastating to the region’s rainforests than the unusual 2005 drought, which was previously billed as a one-in-100 year event.
Lead author Dr Simon Lewis, from the University of Leeds, said: “Having two events of this magnitude in such close succession is extremely unusual, but is unfortunately consistent with those climate models that project a grim future for Amazonia.”
The Amazon rainforest covers an area approximately 25 times the size of the UK. University of Leeds scientists have previously shown that in a normal year intact forests absorb approximately 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 (1). This counter-balances the emissions from deforestation, logging and fire across the Amazon and has helped slow down climate change in recent decades.
In 2005, the region was struck by a rare drought which killed trees within the rainforest. On the ground monitoring showed that these forests stopped absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, and as the dead trees rotted they released CO2 to the atmosphere.
The unusual drought, affecting south-western Amazonia, was described by scientists at the time as a ‘one-in-100-year event’ (2), but just five years later the region was struck by a similar extreme drought that caused the Rio Negro tributary of the Amazon river to fall to its lowest level on record.