Are Rainforests Drying Out?
According to a new study, the Amazon rainforest’s dry season is lasting three weeks longer than it did 30 years ago and it’s likely the climate change crisis is to blame.
While rain falls year-round in this beautiful rainforest ecosystem, the Amazon depends on the heavy rains of the wet season when most of the annual deluge occurs. The longer dry season has a direct correlation with a longer fire season, noted by another study published by the National Academy of Sciences.
“The length of the dry season in the southern Amazon is the most important climate condition controlling the rain forest,” Rong Fu, a climate scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, said in a statement. “If the dry season is too long, the rain forest will not survive.”
The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts the Amazon dry season will last up to 10 days longer by 2100 but some disagree and believe it be far more severe and the dry season will span an extra week for every decade as it has since 1979.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who have been studying rain patterns in the Amazon are proponents of the more severe case and blame climate change for these exaggerated effects. Fu gives two explanations: first, shifts in the southern jet stream can black cold fronts that trigger rainfall. Secondly, rising surface temperatures make it more difficult for a storm to start keeping warm, dry air at the surface where it cannot mi with the cool moist air above.
Amazon Aid works with top scientists like Miles Silman and Dave Lutz to study the effects of climate change on the Amazon.