Continuing deforestation in the Amazon River Basin is likely to have many effects, such as decreased rainfall. Decreased rainfall, in turn, could affect local climate and ecosystems and alter the global carbon cycle, according to a release from the American Geophysical Union.
The study, led by scientists at the University of Leeds, utilized a meta-analysis of 96 climate models. All the models showed that increased deforestation — deforestation rates equivalent to 2004 levels before Brazil’s ban — would result in decreased rainfall. Furthermore, by 2050, drought in the Amazon Basin could become the norm.
Although every model used in the study pointed to a decrease in rainfall as a result of deforestation, data gathered have not yet shown decreases beyond normal seasonal variations. Scientists believe significant decreases in rainfall are still to come, though the decrease may not be clear until 2050 when they expect that the data signal of decreasing rainfall will be larger in size than differences due to random variation.
Top image: Amazon canopy. (Credit: Public Domain)