Due to the effects of global warming, the Amazon rainforest will become a ‘savanna’, as a scientist from the University of Florida predicts, saying it will be beyond the point of recovery by 2064.
Professor Robert Toovey published a new paper in the journal Environment to warn that the Amazon is on the verge of reaching its ‘tipping point’, which all boils down due to human-caused disturbances.
The Amazon is the largest tropical forest on Earth that roughly covers 2.3million square miles. It helps reduce air pollution and regulate the world’s oxygen and carbon cycles, as well as creating its own precipitation to provide communities with water.
But Walker predicts that this will all change from a ‘moist forest’ to a ‘tropical savanna’ over the next few decades. Locals depending on the Amazon as a source of water will also mean ‘the magnitude of the catastrophe will be worse than heretofore imagined’ in 44 years’ time.
He writes, ‘These concerns – recently intensified by Amazonian fires in the summer of 2019 – have put the focus on regional climate changes capable of inducing a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the moist forest transitions to a tropical savanna.’
He adds, ‘This could happen in a number of ways but would probably include some combination of changes in average annual precipitation and dry-season intensity. It is doubtful that the Amazonian forest will remain resilient to changes in the regional hydroclimate.’
In brief, Walker explained, ‘The best way to think of the forest ecosystem is that it’s a pump. The forest recycles moisture, which supports regional rainfall. If you continue to destroy the forest, the rainfall amount drops … and eventually, you wreck the pump.’