Lungs of the Earth: Alarming warning from "Nature" journal, Disaster is approaching

In the latest study, published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists estimated that between 10 and 47 percent of the Amazon will be exposed to impacts that could lead to an unprecedented catastrophe by 2050.

by Sededin Dedovic
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Lungs of the Earth: Alarming warning from "Nature" journal, Disaster is approaching
© Victor Moriyama / Getty Images

The Amazon rainforest, the crown jewel of Earth's biodiversity, is facing challenges that could lead to its complete collapse by 2050, with dire consequences not only for the local ecosystem but for the planet as a whole.

New studies, which were published in the respected journal "Nature", clearly indicate these risks and the need for urgent actions. Although the situation has been urgent for many years, this study states that these warnings should not be ignored and that the situation is now alarming.

The impact of the Amazon rainforest on the global climate is enormous. Covering more than 10% of the world's biodiversity, this rainforest plays a key role in climate regulation by storing large amounts of carbon dioxide. It functions as a sort of lung of the planet, absorbing and retaining emissions that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

However, various factors such as deforestation, droughts, fires and rising temperatures are seriously threatening its ecosystem. Scientists warn that we are on the threshold of a turning point that could lead to irreversible changes in this vital ecosystem.

This could cause unprecedented consequences in the last two millennia, which sounds really scary. The latest research indicates that between 10% and 47% of the Amazon rainforest will be exposed to various levels of damage by 2050, which could have serious consequences for the ecosystem and climate.

There is a real danger that the rainforest will stop absorbing or even start releasing the carbon it stores, which would further increase the effects of global warming. In the case of the release of carbon dioxide, we can say a disaster would occur, and in some parts of the world it would become impossible to live due to excessive temperature.

In those countries, vegetation would completely disappear and deserts would be created with high temperatures during the day and extreme cold during the night. The lead author of the study, Bernardo Flores from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, emphasizes the urgency of the situation.

He emphasizes that we are approaching a point of no return that could have catastrophic consequences. "We are approaching a potential large-scale tipping point, and we may be closer than we previously thought," said the study's lead author.

To gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of the problem, the researchers combined information from computer models with evidence of long-term changes. They analyzed various risk factors, including global warming, rainfall, length of dry seasons and deforestation, to better understand how these factors interact and how they might contribute to potential ecosystem collapse.

This is so far one of the largest and most organized investigations into the impact of the Amazon on the global nature of our planet.

Belo Monte will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the X© Mario Tama / Getty Images

Previous research has already suggested that global warming alone, which has so far warmed the Earth's surface by about 1.2 degrees Celsius, could lead to arid savanna-like conditions, even without other factors.

Drought conditions are already present in some parts of the Amazon, and the recent drought has further worsened the situation, disrupting key watercourses and fueling wildfires. A lot of forest was burned in the fires, and as the situation is getting worse every day, these fires will become more frequent.

We will see if this is nature's response to human behavior very soon, unless we fundamentally change something like humanity and civilization. Flores emphasizes that some parts of the Amazon rainforest have already begun to emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb, which is by far the biggest problem.

This issue becomes even more important in light of the upcoming international climate negotiations, especially as Brazil will host one of the key meetings. "We have evidence to show that rising temperatures, extreme droughts and fires can affect how the forest functions, as well as the types of trees that can integrate into the forest system," said co-author Adrian Esquivel-Muelbert of the UK's Forest Research Institute in ​ to Birmingham.

However, the fate of the Amazon is not only a concern for the countries directly bordering it. It is a global problem that requires coordinated efforts worldwide. Even if countries in the region take measures to stop deforestation and preserve this ecosystem, it may not be enough unless drastic action is taken to reduce emissions worldwide.

Therefore, while scientists warn of a possible collapse of the Amazon ecosystem by 2050, urgent action is needed both locally and globally. All countries must take responsibility and work together. It seems that we somehow got used to this problem and that we do not experience it seriously, maybe some big catastrophe will not happen in our era, but we have an obligation to leave the planet for the generations that will live after us.

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