Tuesday, June 18

Amazon scientists model global warming’s effects on jungles 2023

Brazil: Manaus An experiment in the Amazon may reveal how carbon dioxide levels may affect the world’s greatest jungle.

It simulates global warming on the world’s lungs.

“An open-air laboratory that will allow us to understand how the rainforest will behave in future climate change scenarios,” says Carlos Quesada, one of the project organizers. Brazil and the UK co-funded the AmazonFACE project.

Quesada stands at the base of a metal tower that rises through the rainforest canopy 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Manaus in northwest Brazil.

Sixteen towers in a circle surrounding it will “pump” CO2 into the ring, simulating global warming.

“How will the rainforest react to the rising temperature, the reduction in water availability, in a world with more carbon in the atmosphere?” wonders Quesada, a researcher at a Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology Amazon research institution.

“Future window”

FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) has been studied in Australia, the US, and the UK, but never in a tropical jungle.

Six “carbon rings” will pump CO2 at 40–50% greater concentrations by 2024.

Researchers will study leaf, root, soil, water, and nutrient cycles over a decade.

We’ll have better estimates of how the Amazon rainforest’s carbon absorption helps fight climate change. “It will help us understand how these changes will affect the rainforest,” says University of Campinas researcher David Lapola, who supervises the study alongside Quesada.

The Amazon rainforest may be replaced by grassy plains, or savanna, with plants better adapted to greater temperatures and longer droughts due to atmospheric carbon.

CO2 may “fertilize” the forest and make it momentarily more resistant to these changes.

“This is a positive scenario, at least for a short time, a period for us to get to zero emission policies, to keep temperature increases to only 1.5 degrees Centigrade,” Quesada adds.

The project “shows the future.” “You open the window and see what might happen 30 years ahead,” he explains.

This year, the UN’s IPCC called for ambitious global warming action.

In its March assessment, global warming would exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond 2030, causing permanent ecosystem degradation.

Amazon deforestation coincides with global warming.

Thomas Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre determined in 2018 that the Amazon is approaching a tipping point when savannas replace rainforest.

UK-Brazil collaboration

They predicted that with 20–25% Amazon deforestation. Deforestation is 15%.

AmazonFACE is supported by the Foreign Office and the British Meteorological Service (MET office).

This week, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited the facilities and pledged 2 million pounds (US$2.4 million) to the project, which has received 7.3 million pounds from the UK since 2021.

Brazil invested 32 million reais (US$6.4 million).

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