Monday, April 23, 2012

Amazon rainforest in flames?

19 April 2012
Source: Chico News & Review

Warming Atlantic Ocean puts Amazon rainforest at risk of wildfire

Scientists are concerned that wildfires in the Amazon rainforest will cause the area to become a net emitter of carbon rather than a “carbon sink.”

A decade ago, the common belief was that the rainforest in the western Amazon was too wet to burn, but a warming Atlantic Ocean has been drawing moisture away from the area, causing drought and wildfires, according to The Daily Climate.

Major wildfires in 2005 and 2010 released a total of 3.8 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere, according to a study conducted by the UK’s University of Leeds. In a typical year, the Amazon stores about 0.4 gigatons of carbon, meaning two bad fire seasons could counteract a decade of gain.
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