Impact Of Extreme Drought On Amazon Rainforest

January 30, 2024
Impact Of Extreme Drought On Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest has seen the worst drought for at least half a century, which in itself is one of the planet’s biggest defence against global warming.

The Amazon plays a key role in removing warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but rapid deforestation has left it more vulnerable to weather extremes and last year’s drought has been described as an exceptional event.

The Rio Negro – one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River – reached its lowest recorded levels in 100 years near Manaus in Brazil in October, disrupting cargo flows and causing shipping lines to suspend services. Global shipping has also been impacted by the severe drought at the Panama Canal.

These dry conditions are partially attributed to El Niño – a natural weather system where sea surface temperatures increase in the Pacific Ocean.  El Niño affects rainfall patterns, especially in Latin America. However, according to the World Weather Attribution group, human led climate change is the main driver of the extreme drought.

The Amazon rainforest, often referred to as the ‘lungs of our planet’, is seen as crucial in the battle to limit global warming and intense droughts test it’s resilience. Around one-fifth of the rainforest has been lost over the last 50 years through deforestation and trees help retain and release moisture, while helping to cool temperatures.

The good news is that the rate of deforestation fell in 2023 compared to previous years and Brazil’s President – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – has pledged to halt it completely by 2030.

 

 

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