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Posts tagged Amazon Rainforest

Drought in the Amazon Delta Region and Effects on Global Warming – June 2nd, 2013

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June 2nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Rivers, Sediments

Brazil – June 1st, 2013

An increased frequency of droughts in the Amazon, particularly the delta region (visible here), such as the ones that occurred in 2005 and 2010, threatens to turn the world’s largest tropical forest from a sponge that absorbs greenhouse gases into a source of them, causing accelerating global warming. This is because the trees normally absorbing carbon dioxide as they grow, helping to cool the planet, release these gases when they die and rot.

The 2010 drought caused a reduction of rainfall in an area of 3 million square kilometres of forest – far more than the 1.9 million square kilometres affected in 2005. Because of this, the Amazon forest will no longer absorb in 2010 and 2011 its usual volume of 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Moreover, the dead and dying trees will release 5 billion tons of gas over the next year, causing the cumulative impact to reach 8 billion tons.

Emissions caused by the two droughts were probably sufficient to cancel all of the carbon absorbed by the Amazon forest in the last ten years. If such events occur more frequently, the Amazon forest would reach a point where, from a valuable store of carbon reducing the speed of climate change, it would change into a large source of greenhouse gases, which could accelerate global warming (click here for more information).

Juruá River Running Through Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

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April 25th, 2013 Category: Rivers

Brazil – April 25th, 2013

Some populated areas can be seen near the banks of rivers running through the Amazon Rainforest in the Brazilian states of Acre (below) and Amazonas (above). Near the left edge in the upper left quadrant is the municipality of Cruzeiro do Sul, on the banks of the Juruá River.

The Juruá is a southern affluent river of the Amazon River west of the Purus River, sharing with this the bottom of the immense inland Amazon depression, and having all the characteristics of the Purus as regards curvature, sluggishness and general features of the low, half-flooded forest country it traverses. It rises among the Ucayali highlands, and is navigable and unobstructed for a distance of 1133 miles (1823 km) above its junction with the Amazon. It has a total length of approximately 1500 miles (2414 km), and is one of the longest tributaries of the Amazon.

Deforestation in Rondônia, Brazil – April 23rd, 2013

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April 23rd, 2013 Category: Deforestation, Image of the day

Brazil – April 22nd, 2013

The state of Rondônia in western Brazil, once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest had been cleared.

In this image, intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). Deforestation follows a fairly predictable pattern: the first clearings that appear in the forest are in a fishbone pattern, arrayed along the edges of roads. Over time, the fishbones collapse into a mixture of forest remnants, cleared areas, and settlements.

Negro and Amazon Rivers Flowing Across Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

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March 29th, 2013 Category: Rivers

Brazil – March 26th, 2013

Flowing across the upper portion of this image of the Amazon Rainforest is the Rio Negro, a river with dark, almost black-coloured, water (although part of the river to the east appears light here due to sun glint), while the sandy-coloured Amazon River, or Rio Solimões, flows across the lower part of the image. The two rivers converge near Manaus (not visible here), where for 6 km (3.7 mi) their waters run side by side without mixing, due to differences in temperature, speed and water density.

Vegetation Index of Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

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March 27th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index

Brazil – March 26th, 2013

This image shows the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) of the Amazon Rainforest, mostly in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Dark green areas indicate a high index, while yellow and brown areas indicate a low index. Scientists have reported that climate change is leading to substitution of rainforest with savanna-like and semiarid vegetation, a phenomenon known as the Amazon forests’ “dieback”, particularly around the edges of the forest. Monitoring the NDVI in images such as this one allows researchers to see how fast and how much rainforest is being replaced with drier vegetation.

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