Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cleaner Air Could Kill the Amazon. Wait, What?

Amazon (TGW) – Cleaner air due to fewer coal fired power plants could destroy the Amazon by the end of this century, according to researchers.

Reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by power plants causes increased sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic, which boosts drought risk in the Amazon.

"Generally pollution is a bad thing but in this case improving the air may have ironically led to a drying of the Amazon," said Peter Cox, a researcher at the University of Exeter in Britain, who led the study.

The researchers used a climate-carbon model to simulate the impacts of future climate change on the Amazon and compared it to data from a 2005 drought that devastated a large chunk of the rainforest. They estimated that by 2025 a drought on the same scale could happen every other year and by 2060 such a crisis could hit nine out of every ten years -- enough to turn the rainforest into savannah grassland, Cox said.

The Amazon holds one tenth of the world’s carbon dioxide.

Via :: Reuters

4 comments:

Vijay said...

If this is the case, then how did the amazon rainforest survive this long.

We're having coal plants and Sulphur-di-oxide spewing factories olny for the past 200 years. The air was much cleaner before. How come the ocean temperature did not rise then?

Simmons said...

Vijay:
I thought the same thing. My only guess would be that it is because we were coming out of an ice age. Possibly before the last ice age the Amazon didn't exist?

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