Amazon rainforest hit hard by megadrought
Washington: An Amazon rainforest area twice the size of California has been hit hard by a megadrought that began in 2005 and caused widespread damage to the canopy that blankets the dense vegetation, says a new NASA-led study.
Scientists found that during the summer of 2005, more than 700,000 sq km, or 70 million hectares of pristine, old-growth forest in southwestern Amazonia experienced an extensive, severe drought.
This megadrought caused widespread changes to the forest canopy that were detectable by satellite.
While rainfall levels gradually recovered in subsequent years, the damage to the canopy persisted all the way to the next major drought, especially involving the older, larger, more vulnerable canopy trees, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.
About half the forest affected by the 2005 drought -- an area the size of California -- did not recover by the time NASA`s QuikScat stopped gathering global data in November 2009 and before the start of a more extensive drought in 2010, according to a NASA statement.
These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.
An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA`s Jet Propulsion Lab, California, analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia.
"The biggest surprise for us was that the effects appeared to persist for years after the 2005 drought," said study co-author Yadvinder Malhi of the University of Oxford, UK.
"We had expected the forest canopy to bounce back after a year with a new flush of leaf growth, but the damage appeared to persist right up to the subsequent drought in 2010."
Researchers attribute the 2005 Amazonian drought to the long-term warming of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures.
"In effect, the same climate phenomenon that helped form hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the southern coasts of the US in 2005 also likely caused the severe drought in southwest Amazonia," Saatchi said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- UP CM Yogi Adityanath takes 50 decisions without single Cabinet meet
- Triple Talaq: Why AIMPLB are opposing the petitions filed in Supreme Court?
- Legal, illegal slaughterhouses in UP: What you need to know
- DNA: Should strict action be taken against stone pelters of J&K?
- Triple talaq, polygamy integral part of Islam: AIMPLB tells SC
- Kapil Sharma–Sunil Grover fallout: Kiku Sharda finally breaks silence
- Chinese national insults Indian flag, throws it in dustbin outside Noida Oppo office; massive protest takes place
- Left to die on road, pregnant Lucknow woman writes to PM Narendra Modi to end 'triple talaq', says 'I voted for BJP'
- Gautam Gambhir gives Aussies perfect send-off, says true champions let their game do all the talking!
- Here's why Donald Trump called PM Narendra Modi