June 15, 2011
Source: Cool Earth
Interviewed recently by The Ecologist magazine, Leed's University's Dr. Simon Lewis claimed that: "If the climate changes in the Amazon to a regime with more severe and frequent droughts, then the dead trees may be numerous enough to cancel-out all the usual carbon uptake, and perhaps even add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere...our current emission pathways are, to be blunt, playing Russian roulette with a substantial portion of the world's largest rainforest."
Dr. Lewis published a paper earlier this year pointing out that the largest rainforest in the world is facing an unprecedented dual threat to its existence: severe drought episodes and intense deforestation. The fear is that, in combination, they could destroy vast areas of the Amazon. Lewis found that the 2010 Amazon drought damaged deeper than the 2005 disaster, which, at the time, was considered to be a once a century phenomenon. Many people are waiting to see how 2011 will turn out.
When interviewed by The Ecologist, Dr, Lewis explained that if greenhouse gases and global warming are the cause of these droughts and the droughts happen three or more times a decade, then a vicious cycle could be set up, leading to higher rates of CO² emissions from rotting trees.