Recently results have been compiled after a study done over a decade. The study was aimed at the greenhouse gas concentration in the basin of Amazon. It indicates that about one-fifth of the entire area is adding to the atmospheric carbon dioxide. The major reason is widespread deforestation.
While growing and alive trees are absorbing carbon dioxide, the gas is being released again by dead trees. In the past few years, several million trees were killed by fires and logging. The results, which are yet to be published, have grave implications in the present efforts for fighting climate change.
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It suggests that the rainforest in Amazon might be becoming a source of carbon faster than previous estimates. For the longest time, the Amazon rainforest has been a vital “sink” or store for carbon that decelerates global warming’s pace.
The Study Pointing Out Amazon’s Threat
For the previous 10 years, scientists have measured the greenhouse gases every fourteen days. Professor Luciana Gatti leads the team. She is a researcher with the National Institute for Researching Space in Brazil (NPE). They were doing the measurements using sensors fitted on aircraft over different areas in the Amazonian basin.
The findings of the group startled the researchers. The majority of the area is still continuing to absorb immense quantities of CO2, especially in years with heavier rainfall. However, a part of the Amazon that has suffered heavy deforestation does not have the capacity any longer. The research by Gatti indicates that the forests’ southeast area is now a source of carbon. She further added that it is becoming worse every year. She added that the amount of rainfall was making no change to the measurements.
A forest becomes a carbon source and not a carbon store when dead trees start producing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation also increases the danger.
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Carlos Nobre, one of the co-authors of the paper, referred to observation as “very worrying” as it can be the starting line of a huge tipping point. He is of the belief that in the coming 3 decades, over half of the rainforest can become a savanna.
For now, the choice to save the Amazons is political. However, time is running out fast.