Historic and Devastating Drought in the Amazon Was Caused by Climate Change

"A new report untangles the impact of global warming on an “exceptional” drought across the world’s largest land-based carbon sink."

"Climate change was the primary driver of a massive drought in the Amazon basin in 2023 and will likely cause future extreme droughts, with potentially dire consequences for global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from World Weather Attribution.

The group, which assembles teams of scientists to rapidly assess if climate change had an impact on recent weather events, released a report Wednesday saying that the “exceptional” Amazon drought was 30 times more likely to have occurred because of climate change.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Regina Rodrigues, professor of physical oceanography and climate at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil and a lead author of the new report. “And it was widespread in the whole basin.”

The Amazon basin, which extends into parts of nine countries but lies mostly in Brazil, is the single biggest land-based sink of carbon on the planet—storing up to five times the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Its survival as an intact ecosystem is critical to stabilizing Earth’s atmosphere."

Georgina Gustin reports for Inside Climate News January 24, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 01/25/2024