10 Oct 2011:
Amazon Drought Released
More CO2 than India’s Annual Emissions
A drought that affected large areas of the Amazon rainforest in 2010 triggered the release of about 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide
, more than the total annual CO2 emissions of India, according to a new study. After combining a NASA carbon cycle simulation model and satellite data that reflects the
Click to enlarge
Environmental Research Letters
Decline in Amazonian forest net primary production, 2008-2010
“greenness” — or light interception capacity — of forest canopies, researchers at the NASA Ames Research Center found that net primary production in some forest areas decreased by an average of 7 percent compared with 2008 data. The drought not only reduced the amount of CO2 absorbed by the rainforest, but the drying of normally flooded areas also released large amounts of CO2 through the decomposition of soil and dead wood. Overall, researchers found that emissions caused by the drought roughly equalled the combined emisisons of human-caused deforestation and forest fires in undisturbed forests. According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters
, the results suggest “a more widespread and long-lasting impact to Amazonian forests than what could be inferred based solely on rainfall data.” While the NASA scientists said the effects could ultimately be offset by plant growth when normal conditions resume, other researchers warn that an increase in severe droughts could portend the collapse of the Amazonian rainforest system
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our feed:
South African photojournalist Adam Welz documents the harrowing relocation of six white rhinos to a region that has lost all its rhinos to poaching. View the gallery.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A Yale Environment 360
video explores Ecuador’s threatened Yasuni Biosphere Reserve with scientists inventorying its stunning forests and wildlife. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
In a Yale Environment 360
video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
Watch the video.