How The Rainforests Are Drying Out?

According to NASA’s ground and satellite observations, the atmosphere over the Amazon Rainforest has become significantly drier over the past 20 years. What consequences might this process have on our planet?
ISSUE: #04 MARCH 2021
Reduced Air Humidity over the Amazon Rainforest

Trees and plants use water not only for transporting nutrients but also for cooling. By evaporating water through the surface of the leaves, they protect themselves from overheating on a hot day. Lack of water can lead to the leaves and plants themselves drying out. Rainforests generate up to 80% of the rainfall in a given area, nourishing the local soil. Meanwhile, a dry atmosphere indicates a disruption in the water cycle of an ecosystem. It’s quite paradoxical, then, that this takes place in the humid rainforests in the heart of South America.

What Can This Lead to?

A disrupted water balance in the rainforest makes it more vulnerable to droughts and fires. In 2019, the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research observed over 80,000 forest fires throughout the country, half of which were in the Amazon Rainforest. High average temperatures and frequent fires only exacerbate the situation and result in even more fires.

Wildfire in the Amazon Rainforest

What Role Do People Play?

Scientists note that the two factors with the greatest impact on drying rainforests are global warming and deforestation caused by agriculture. Moreover, the scale of the latter is shocking — every minute, a football field-sized area of the Amazon Rainforest is destroyed.

Deforestation in Malaysia. From 1990–2005, the country lost 6.6 % of its total undergrowth.

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