Friday, March 13, 2009

Big parts of Amazon rainforest to disappear in years to come?

Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world with unparalleled biodiversity, for instance one in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon rainforest. Amazon rainforest is not only important because of biodiversity but also because it absorbs large quantities of CO2, therefore slowing the impact of global warming. Though Amazon rainforest helps the world in fight against global warming it alone is sadly not immune to global warming, and even small rises in temperature could destroy large areas of Amazon rainforest.

Unfortunately because of the global warming the possibility of severely reduced rainfall is very likely, and this could leave up to three quarters of the forest dry and withered by the middle of the next century. If this scenario happens it will not only mean ecological catastrophe it will also mean totally unpredictable global weather system. Met Office’s Hadley Centre (scientists specialized in climate prediction and research) showed in their last study that if the world’s average temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from the pre-industrial levels (as many scientists believe it would with current rates of carbon emissions), by the middle of the century, then between 20 and 40 percent of the Amazon’s trees will disappear. And if there is about 3 degree C rise, then as much as 75 percent of the Amazon rainforest will disappear by 2150. Even if world does the miracle and we see only a 1 degree C temperature rise there will still be some irreversible damage to the tree coverage.

Many environmentalists believe that deforestation is ecological problem that threatens Amazon rainforest the most but global warming could be the one adding the final punch. So what would happen if for instance 75 percent of Amazon rainforest disappears in near future? Scientists still do not know an exact answer to this question but they believe that in this case weather would likely become extreme and this would also give tremendous impact to global warming. As Prof Peter Cox, Met Office professor of climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, said: "The tropics are drivers of the world’s weather systems and killing the Amazon is likely to change them forever."

It is really not only the question of our forests needing our help to survive global warming impact, much more is at stake here, namely destiny of the planet we live in, and with it our destiny as well. Unless we don't do something very quick we will not only lose our forests but we will also create impossible conditions for living to our future generations. The sad thing is that many people still refuse to accept the seriousness of global warming problem. For instance only four in 10 Americans think that global warming problem is exaggerated. Do they really want a catastrophe to start believing?

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