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Climate Change

February 5, 2011

From NPR: ‘Alarming’ Amazon Droughts May Have Global Fallout

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Major droughts in 2005 and 2010 cut into the Amazon

Major droughts in 2005 and 2010 cut into the Amazon's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Drought reduces carbon-absorbing tree growth, and opens the door to more forest fires, which release carbon into the air. Seen here, a Peruvian section of Amazonia. Photo by John W. Poole/NPR

The world’s largest tropical forest, the Amazon, experienced something rare last year — a drought. It wasn’t the earth-cracking kind of drought that happens in the American Southwest or the Australian outback, but it did stunt or kill lots of trees.

It was the second such drought in the Amazon in five years, and forest scientists are trying to understand why these droughts are happening, and what their effects will be for the planet.

The 2005 drought in the Amazon was so unusual that scientists called it a “100-year event” — something supposed to happen only once a century.

via ‘Alarming’ Amazon Droughts May Have Global Fallout : NPR.

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