Scientists issue dire warning for the Amazon rainforest

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A team of researchers penned a new paper published in the scientific journal Nature that warns parts of the Amazon rainforest are reaching a “tipping point“.

Scientists issue dire warning for the Amazon rainforest 156

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The international team of researchers behind this study outlined that up to 47% of the Amazon rainforest is currently under threat of increased temperatures, droughts, fires, and deforestation – all of which are pushing the iconic location to the “tipping point.

The dangers of the Amazon rainforest reaching this critical threshold aren’t exclusive to the Amazonian rainforest, as rainforests enrich the air with moisture, which forms the basis of precipitation, meaning if one part of the Amazon rainforest hits this “tipping point,” it can create a self-propelling feedback loop affecting, potentially resulting in other areas of the rainforest, or other rainforests across the continent losing forests.

To maintain the Amazon forest within safe boundaries, local and global efforts must be combined. Deforestation and forest degradation have to end and restoration has to expand. Moreover, much more needs to be done to stop greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide“, writes co-author Niklas Boers, leader of the Future Lab ‘Artificial Intelligence in the Anthropocene’ at PIK and professor of Earth System Modelling at the Technical University of Munich.

The moisture generated by the Amazon rainforest is transported by the air via “flying rivers,” which are also critical parts of the South American Monsoon, one of the major monsoon systems of the Southern Hemisphere.

The Southeastern Amazon has already shifted from a carbon sink to a source -meaning that the current amount of human pressure is too high for the region to maintain its status as a rainforest over the long term. But the problem doesn’t stop there.

Since rainforests enrich the air with a lot of moisture which forms the basis of precipitation in the west and south of the continent, losing forest in one place can lead to losing forest in another in a self-propelling feedback loop or simply ‘tipping’“, states PIK scientist Boris Sakschewski, one of the authors of the study.

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