OH GOD, IT’S ALL ON FIRE!! JESUS TITTY F***ING CHRIST THE HUMANITY!
*Ahem*… sorry about that.
The Amazon is the worlds largest Rainforest on the planet, larger than the next two Rainforests combined. Its estimated that it contains 16000 different tree species, 2.5 million insect species, at least 430 mammal species. In total, the Amazon accounts for around 30% of the entire planets biodiversity.
“The fires in the Amazon region in 2019 were unprecedented in their destruction. Thousands of fires had burned more than 7,600 square kilometres by October that year.” – Theconversation.com
For reference, that is about 1/3rd the size of Wales. The outlook for 2020 is just as dire and perhaps even worse.
What are the consequences?
Aside from the impact these fires are having to biodiversity, there are clear climate impacts too. The Amazon plays a key role in filtering out CO2 from the atmosphere, storing it in plant matter for in some cases, thousands of years. It also has a crucial role in both local and global weather patterns by directing and stabilizing rain patterns. It creates its own weather.
The immediate effects of this can be seen from space across America. It affects the regularity and distribution of rain as well as reducing the severity of storms.
A study run by NASA over the last 2 decades has shown that the atmosphere above the Amazon has been drying out.
A forest that normally does not have a “dry season” is beginning to experience periods of severe drought that are exacerbating the fires. There is cause for concern that we are reaching a tipping point in which the self sustaining weather patterns the Amazon relies on will end completely. In this scenario, the Amazon rainforest becomes the Amazon dry-forest, which then becomes the Amazon on-fire-forest and ultimately becomes the Amazon Desert.
Evidence suggests a similar thing happened to what we now know as the Sahara between 8000-4500 years ago. before this period the Sahara was an expansive grassland with forests and lakes. The current theory for why it became the desert we know today is overgrazing by humans and livestock.