09 Aug '18, 4pm

NASA finds Amazon drought leaves long legacy of damage

A single season of drought in the Amazon rainforest can reduce the forest's carbon dioxide absorption for years after the rains return, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. This is the first study to quantify the long-term legacy of an Amazon drought. A research team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and other institutions used satellite lidar data to map tree damage and mortality caused by a severe drought in 2005. In years of normal weather, the undisturbed forest can be a natural carbon "sink," absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it puts back into it. But starting with the drought year of 2005 and running through 2008 -- the last year of available lidar data -- the Amazon basin lost an average of 0.27 petagrams of carbon (270 million metric tons) per year, with no sign of regaining its function as a ca...

Full article: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2780/nasa-finds-amazon-drou...

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