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NASA Study Finds Cimate Change Impacts On Rain Forest

NASA has released a report showing severe impacts on a large area of the Amazon rain forest resulting from the effects of climate change. The report notes that a 2005 drought, likely resulting from the same weather patterns that brought severe weather to the Southern United States, severely impacted 270,000 square miles of the forest with an even larger area having less severe impacts.

The report found that the impacts of the drought were more long lasting than anticipated. As a result, the forest had not fully recovered from the 2005 drought when another drought hit in 2010 that impacted nearly half the forest. NASA notes
“The drought rate in Amazonia during the past decade is unprecedented over the past century. In addition to the two major droughts in 2005 and 2010, the area has experienced several localized mini-droughts in recent years. Observations from ground stations show that rainfall over the southern Amazon rainforest declined by almost 3.2 percent per year in the period from 1970 to 1998. Climate analyses for the period from 1995 to 2005 show a steady decline in water availability for plants in the region. Together, these data suggest a decade of moderate water stress led up to the 2005 drought, helping trigger the large-scale forest damage seen following the 2005 drought.”

-Steven M. Silverberg