Climate Emergency: Amazon Nears Dangerous Tipping Point

March 12, 2022

The Wall Scholars Catalyst Program starting in September 2022 will focus on the theme of Climate and Nature Emergency. PWIAS encourages applications from all disciplines and from scholars whose work may be vital to understanding the climate and nature emergency. For this call, we hope to expand the ways of knowing and acting in this challenging socio-ecological moment.

Deadline to apply: April 29, 2022

A new study published this month in Nature Climate Change warns that the Amazon rainforest is teetering on the precipice of a dangerous tipping point.

From Scientific American:

With enough time and forest losses, scientists say, large swaths of the Amazon could fall into an unstoppable spiral that would transform them from lush rainforest into grassy savanna.

The global implications would be profound. The loss of the rainforest would cause a large-scale drying across the region. The circulation of the atmosphere could change in response, altering weather patterns around the world.

And the Amazon has the potential to pour some 90 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the forest dies off, the equivalent of several years of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the entire article here.

From The Guardian newspaper:

Novel statistical analysis shows that more than 75% of the untouched forest has lost stability since the early 2000s, meaning it takes longer to recover after droughts and wildfires.

The greatest loss of stability is in areas closer to farms, roads and urban areas and in regions that are becoming drier, suggesting that forest destruction and global heating are the cause. These factors “may already have pushed the Amazon close to a critical threshold of rainforest dieback”, the scientists conclude.

The study does not enable a prediction of when the tipping point could be reached. But the researchers warned that by the time the triggering of the tipping point could be detected, it would be too late to stop it.

Read the entire article in The Guardian