(10) Mass Tree Deaths in the Amazon
Scientists fear billions of tree deaths caused by 2010 drought could see vast forest turn from carbon sink to carbon source. Aerial view of a drought-affected area within the Amazon basin in Manaus, Brazil. Photograph: Rodrigo Baleia/LatinContent/Getty ImagesBillions of trees died in the record drought that struck the Amazon in 2010, raising fears that the vast forest is on the verge of a tipping point, where it will stop absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead increase them.The dense forests of the Amazon soak up more than one-quarter of the world’s atmospheric carbon, making it a critically important buffer against global warming. But if the Amazon switches from a carbon sink to a carbon source that prompts further droughts and mass tree deaths, such a feedback loop could cause runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences.”Put starkly, current emissions pathways risk playing Russian roulette with the world’s largest forest,” said tropical forest expert Simon Lewis, at the University of Leeds, and who led the research published today in the journal Science. Lewis was careful to note that significant scientific uncertainties remain and that the 2010 and 2005 drought – thought then to be of once-a-century severity – might yet be explained by natural climate variation.”We can’t just wait and see because there is no going back,” he said. “We won’t know we have passed the point where the Amazon turns from a sink to a source until afterwards, when it will be too late.”
Shocking Mass Animal Deaths Around The World
by Blythe Copeland
Just a few weeks into 2011, and it’s already a tough year for the animal kingdom: Mass deaths of blackbirds, spot fish, sardines, croakers, doves, and other creatures are going mostly unexplained in regions all over the world (as this helpful Google Map points out).
But these population injuries aren’t entirely uncommon: From beached whales and dead penguins to massive fish kills and threatened manatees, 2010 had its share of bad news, too.
Often these events are blamed on temperature change, human activity, or natural causes, but in many of the cases we’ve included here, we may never know exactly what caused massive destruction on these fragile populations.
Image: Google Maps
Article includes the following animals:
(9) Birds Dying Around the World