Even if the lowest temperature rises occur under Global Warming, the Amazonian rainforest is going to suffer catastrophic damage.
The damage will be so severe that it will cause irreversible changes to the world’s weather patterns, which is expected to bring more storms, floods and heat waves to Britain.
Up to 40 per cent of the rainforest will be lost if temperature rises are restricted to 2C, which most climatologists regard as the least that can be expected by 2050.
Climate change researchers issued this assessment of the forest’s fragility after discovering a time-lag in the effects of temperature rises on the forest.
It had previously been thought that the trees and other vegetation, and the vast range of animals living among them, would be safe if temperatures rose no more than 2C. Researchers have now found that even 2C will destroy large tracts of the forest.
A 3C rise is likely to result in 75 per cent of the forest disappearing and a 4C rise, regarded as the most likely increase this century unless greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced, will kill off 85 per cent of the forest.
Chris Jones, of the Met Office Hadley Center in Exeter, told a scientific conference in Copenhagen that 20 to 40 per cent of the forest will be killed off by 2050 if there is a 2C rise.
“We are committed to losing a fair degree of the forest,” Dr Jones told scientists. “Everything above 1C commits us to some forest loss.”
Until Dr Jones presented his findings it had been assumed that the Amazonian rainforest was safe from severe climate-related loss until temperatures rose more than 3C. However, the slowness of forests to respond to change hid the likely real impact.
Peter Cox, of the University of Exeter, said of the finding that at least a fifth of the Amazonian rainforest was almost certainly doomed. “Ecologically it would be a catastrophe and it would be taking a huge chance with our own climate. The tropics are drivers of the world’s weather systems and killing the Amazon is likely to change them for ever. We don’t know exactly what would happen but we could expect more extreme weather,” Professor Cox said.
Our manipulation of the environment has been so drastic and so severe that we are just beginning to understand the implications of what we are doing. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is too late. Some, but not all of the Global Warming manifestations are reversible.
We are already seeing animal and human migration patterns due to man made Global Warming. We are already seeing the effects of the increased severity and frequency of storms and flooding as a result of man made Global Warming. We are seeing previously unknown effects on our planet every day, that we have caused, and we are just learning, much too slowly, how these effects impact us.
Learn, share, and live wisely.
Source: Times Online