A team of British and Brazilian scientists have warned that a widespread drought in the Amazon rainforest during 2010 was even worse than the “once-in-a-century” dry spell of 2005.
In a new study published in the journal “Science,” they evaluated rainfall data collected via satellite during the prolonged 2010 dry season, as well as information from trees in throughout the Amazon. The scientists found an alarming 60% increase over 2005 in the regions covered by dead trees along with more intense drought.
As the renowned “lungs of the Earth,” the Amazon rainforest normally absorbs over 25% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, or some 1.5 billion tons of CO2. But the billions of trees that perished in the drought this past year, scientists say the Amazon is now forecast to release 5 billion tons in the coming years, potentially leading to runaway climate change.
Moreover, global climate models forecast more frequent Amazon droughts, further aggravating potential risks. Research leader Dr. Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom cautioned, “We can't just wait and see because there is no going back. We won't know we have passed the point where the Amazon turns from a sink to a source until afterwards, when it will be too late.”
We thank Dr. Lewis and colleagues for sharing these critical findings that foretell the predicament of not only the Amazon region but also the globe.
Let us heed such disturbing changes by swiftly adopting the most eco-friendly lifestyles to protect the treasured Amazon and indeed the planet. During an April 2009 videoconference,
Supreme Master Ching Hai emphasized the need to tread more lightly in the ecosphere to ensure the survival of the Earth and all her inhabitants.