Climate Change Could Intensify Amazon Forest Fires, Turning It From a Carbon Sink to Source, Scientists Warn
Some 16 percent of the forest in the southern Brazilian Amazon may burn by 2050 "as the climate becomes drier and hotter in the next few decades," according to the authors of a study published in the journal Science Advances. That amounts to global warming doubling the area burned by wildfires in this region in the next three decades, they fear.
The authors of the paper used regional climate projections to create a model to predict the future of wildfires in the southern Brazilian Amazon. The area they looked at covered 192 million hectares in the driest part of the forest. Of that, 72 percent featured native forests, while deforested area were mainly used for cattle ranches, followed by mechanized agriculture.
The team explained deforestation declined by 70 percent in the Amazon between 2004 and 2014, preventing the equivalent of 12 percent of global annual global carbon dioxide emissions from being released. Despite that, forest fires have gotten bigger thanks to human activities and extreme weather, and are sending up more carbon into the atmosphere.