New satellite data shows that the Amazon rainforest is drier than usual and could be at risk of fires this year. The data shows regions of the Amazon that have severe negative changes in the soil’s moisture and groundwater. This translates to drier forest, and even though the likelihood of a severe drought isn’t on the scene, a drier year could increase the spread of wildfires. It could also trigger an earlier spike in deforestation rates. Brazil’s Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Research (CPTEC) shows in its climate models that there is no indication of above-average rain in the coming months.
Satellite data show Amazon rainforest likely drier & more fire-prone this year: https://t.co/DpQwPwiVWZ pic.twitter.com/sHrS9oobda
— Mongabay (@mongabay) April 23, 2020
These drier than usual areas of the Amazon are coming after its rainy season. During the season, the rainfall index was well below historical levels. Both NASA and the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research point out that stressed climate conditions such as drier soil, higher temperatures, and depleted groundwater are the issue here.
In 2019, the Amazon’s humidity helped contain the flames of its deadly wildfires, but this year, it may not be so lucky. President of the Earth Innovation Institute and forest ecologist Daniel Nepstad told Mongabay, “It’s very worrisome, it could be that there are much more fire events than what we saw last year, and earlier in the season.” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro hasn’t really helped matters either. Like Trump has done here in America, he has scaled back environmental protections. Bolsonaro has also advocated opening up indigenous reserves to mining and other activities that will create destruction of the Amazon. In fact, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has cut down on environmental raids. This has increased deforestation, land grabbing, and even wildcat mining. Wildcat mining is the exploration of oil wells drilled in areas not known to be oil fields.
It seems as if greed has completely blinded many of our governments across the globe to the point they fully believe that by destroying our ecosystems, they will profit. Yet, they don’t really believe they are destroying the ecosystem. Or at least, they pretend not to. I’ve had many people tell me that it really shouldn’t matter what we do about our climate. After all, we will all be dead when the worst comes, right? This is one of the most selfish excuses for allowing our politicians and polluting industries to destroy the planet, but I understand why people think like this. They do it because they feel helpless and unable to do anything about it. So, they decide, why stress over it? Why advocate?
We advocate because we know power lies in numbers, and if there are millions of people around the globe advocating for clean energy, those few world leaders in charge will have to listen and eventually do something.
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