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Amazon rainforest deforestation found to influence weather in Tibet

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan07’23) – Although located more than 15,000 kilometers apart, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in South America is influencing weather in Tibet, reported phys.org Jan 6, citing evidence found by an international team of climate scientists. The focus of their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change was stated to be possible long-range impacts of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

The climate scientists have expressed surprise that due to tree loss, warmer temperatures in the Amazon correlated with rising temperatures in Tibet as well as the West Antarctic ice sheet. They have also found that when it rained more in the Amazon, there tended to be less precipitation in both of the other two regions.

The report said the researchers were able to trace the route of climate change as the size of the rain forest grew smaller. They were stated to have been able to chart its approximate path first to southern Africa, and then on up to the Arabian Peninsula and finally over to Tibet. The trip was stated to have been found to take just a little over two weeks.

The researchers have noted that the finding suggests that if a tipping point is reached in the Amazon, it could create a tipping point in Tibet, where temperatures and rainfall would be permanently impacted. They have also noted that prior research had already shown that warming is proceeding faster in Tibet and the Arctic than the global average.

The Amazon rainforest is considered to represent one of the world’s tipping points, where small, gradual changes can eventually lead to a large, sudden, permanent change. As deforestation progresses, it edges ever closer to this tipping point, at which point scientists believe the rainforest cannot be returned to its natural state, even if all of the cutting was stopped and the trees replanted, the report said.

The researchers have noted that cutting down the forest has been going on for decades, and climate data has been gathered during the same time period. They wondered what impact the slowly diminishing rainforest might have on distant regions around the globe. To that end, they obtained and analyzed global climate data covering the years 1979 to 2019, looking for associations, the report said.

Schematic view of the tipping elements of the Earth climate system, their connectivity and teleconnections. The numbered symbols show the potential tipping elements in the Earth system. The dashed yellow lines show the possible connections between these tipping elements and the solid red lines show teleconnection uncovered in this article. The arrows show the direction of the influence. (Photo courtesy: Nature Climate Change, 2023)

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