Amazon's carbon uptake declines as trees die faster

March 18, 2015, University of Leeds
Increasing lianas may be one reason for the observed increase in tree death. Credit: Yadvinder Mahli

The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America.

The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published today in the journal Nature.

Over recent decades the remaining Amazon forest has acted as a vast 'carbon sink' - absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases - helping to put a brake on the rate of . But this new analysis of forest dynamics shows a huge surge in the rate of trees dying across the Amazon.

Lead author Dr Roel Brienen, from the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, said: "Tree mortality rates have increased by more than a third since the mid-1980s, and this is affecting the Amazon's capacity to store carbon."

Initially, an increase in in the atmosphere - a key ingredient for photosynthesis - led to a growth spurt for the Amazon's trees, the researchers say. But the extra carbon appears to have had unexpected consequences.

Study co-author Professor Oliver Phillips, also from the University's School of Geography, said: "With time, the growth stimulation feeds through the system, causing trees to live faster, and so die younger."

Recent droughts and unusually high temperatures in the Amazon may also be playing a role. Although the study finds that tree mortality increases began well before an intense drought in 2005, it also shows that drought has killed millions of additional trees.

Dr Brienen said: "Regardless of the causes behind the increase in tree mortality, this study shows that predictions of a continuing increase of carbon storage in tropical forests may be too optimistic.

Amazon canopy at dawn, in Brazil. Credit: Peter van der Sleen
"Climate change models that include vegetation responses assume that as long as carbon dioxide levels keep increasing, then the Amazon will continue to accumulate carbon. Our study shows that this may not be the case and that processes are critical in this system."

The study involved almost 100 scientists, many working for decades across eight countries in South America. The work was coordinated by RAINFOR, a unique research network dedicated to monitoring the Amazonian forests.

To calculate changes in they examined 321 forest plots across the Amazon's six million square kilometres, identified and measured 200,000 trees, and recorded tree deaths as well as growth and new trees since the 1980s.

"All across the world even intact forests are changing", added Professor Phillips. "Forestsare doing us a huge favour, but we can't rely on them to solve the problem. Instead, deeper cuts in emissions will be required to stabilise our climate."

Explore further: Direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests 'inhale less carbon'

More information: Nature, 10.1038/nature14283

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24 comments

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Shootist
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 18, 2015
Would you like some cheese with that whine?

In the scheme of things the Amazon is ephemeral. It didn't exist 2,000,000 years ago and won't exist 2,000,000 years hence.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (26) Mar 18, 2015
How much of our Oxygen does it produce?
Water_Prophet
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2015
How much of our Oxygen does it produce?

Absolutely. If CO2 increases and O2 decreases, than this will start to make us sick.

It doesn't take much, really, if you've ever traveled to Denver, and CO2 just makes it worse.

See, now there is the real downside of increased CO2. I lingers in our homes, it gets exponentially worse the more CO2 is outside, and it degrades our quality of life: headaches, fatigue, etc..

You know, it would be great if it warmed things up a little, I'd like to save something on my heating bill.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (22) Mar 18, 2015
How much of our Oxygen does it produce?
Uh why dont you look it up? You expect others here to do that for you?
gkam
1.6 / 5 (25) Mar 18, 2015
I already knew. 20% of the world's oxygen. But it does not come directly from the rain forest, but from the nutrients washed into the sea, . . . . the nutrients which originated in the Sahara and traveled across the South Atlantic as dust.

http://mashable.c...a-video/

http://news.disco...0226.htm

http://www.climat...sa-18708

For the freaks who need references, unable to believe me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (22) Mar 18, 2015
I already knew. 20% of the world's oxygen. But it does not come directly from the rain forest, but from the nutrients washed into the sea, . . . . the nutrients which originated in the Sahara and traveled across the South Atlantic as dust.

http://mashable.c...a-video/

For the freaks who need references, unable to believe me.
Only because you typically post garbage like

"Plutonium raining down on idaho, fallout as the principal cause of lung cancer, H2 explosions throwing reactor parts 120km, complex systems being self-stabilizing, only 1 scientist realizing that the next ice age is just around the corner, that microwaves from orbital solar stations will cause cataracts, etcetcetc ad infinitum."
I already knew

-And no, nobody believes you knew that without looking it up. Or else you would have posted it first thing to impress people. Because thats what you do.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (24) Mar 18, 2015
Oh my god, how do we get this chronic malcontent and manic, self-instituted Truth Authority and house thug out of the discussion threads?
howhot2
3 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2015
AL GORE IS RUNNING!!!! WOOt!

http://www.labors...ning.JPG

...

I have no idea @gkam. If they weren't so serious they would be funny.
.
howhot2
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2015
On a serious note, this is an excellent article. The nature article is profound in it's implication of mankind's footprint on the planet, even if as individuals its unintentional. As far as the @ghostman's comment on gkam

"Plutonium raining down on idaho, fallout as the principal cause of lung cancer, H2 explosions throwing reactor parts 120km, complex systems being self-stabilizing, only 1 scientist realizing that the next ice age is just around the corner, that microwaves from orbital solar stations will cause cataracts, etcetcetc ad infinitum."

Ghost buddy, Gkam is not lying., The blast(s) at Fukushima were that strong. Here is one reference;

http://www.helmho...4961w.pd

Look it up if you don't believe Gkam.

Mike_Massen
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2015
Water_Prophet with more uneducated Science speak NOT consistent with his claims of "4 technical degrees"
Absolutely. If CO2 increases and O2 decreases, than this will start to make us sick.
It doesn't take much, really, if you've ever traveled to Denver, and CO2 just makes it worse.
See, now there is the real downside of increased CO2. I lingers in our homes, it gets exponentially worse the more CO2 is outside, and it degrades our quality of life: headaches, fatigue, etc..
You know, it would be great if it warmed things up a little, I'd like to save something on my heating bill.
What a complete ignoramus you are AGAIN !

You have been shown the formula for CO2's thermal resistivity by runrig, so why
can't you plug in the values & PROVE your claim CO2's effect is "Negligible" ?

Why can't you do that with at least ONE of your claimed "4 technical degrees" ?

Idle claims do not make Science do they Water_Prophet, you know this intimately !
Mike_Massen
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2015
howhot2 offered
Ghost buddy, Gkam is not lying., The blast(s) at Fukushima were that strong. Here is one reference;
http://www.helmho...961w.pdf
Added the 'f' at the end of your link, although we know well about that some plebes who just idly click may have no idea...!

TheGhostofOtto1923 does seem to blow his top at the drop of a hat and keeps going on at gkam for no particular tangible reasons, I wonder if its because he put money into Rossi & the e-cat - ooorpps hmmm ?

Where r u at TheGhostofOtto1923, re Rossi and his claims, still running late is he ?

Nice pic there howhot2, Al prob running from the angry agw denialists among others or running towards Hillary to want to be a running mate ;-)
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (22) Mar 19, 2015
Oh my god, how do we get this chronic malcontent and manic, self-instituted Truth Authority and house thug out of the discussion threads?
Easy. 1) stop making up your own science and using your alleged experience as a reference; 2) stop your empty one-line graffiti postings; and 3) stop bragging about your alleged and unrelated experience in innumerable 6-month job shop positions as they are irrelevant and far too easy to make fun of.
keeps going on at gkam for no tangible reasons
Gkam continues daily to weave tales about his alleged experience, to add credence to his made-up science and sloganeering. So I respond daily.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (23) Mar 19, 2015
Where r u @ rossis magnificent flying machines? Still late is he?
Are you trying to start trouble or something? You can read all about rossis alleged progress here
http://www.e-catworld.com

-and if you have any appreciation for evidence you will conclude, like me, that we will soon know the results of his first 1MW commercial installation which according to him has been running successfully and making money for his client for some months now.

The facts that he was bought out by an energy conglomerate, and that he has had one bonafide independent, peer-reviewed study and paper, lend credence to his efforts.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.6 / 5 (20) Mar 19, 2015
I think what Mills is doing is even maybe more interesting.
http://www.blackl...ats-new/

-He has a lot more science and theory worked out to back up his outlandish claims, for instance that dark matter is hydrinos. He has provided lots of compelling evidence as well.

No, there's not enough evidence to conclude whether either the ecat or the hydrino are real. But neither can anyone conclude that they're NOT. Certainly no one here has taken the time to learn enough about either to make a meaningful judgement one way or the other.

But the world may be at the same sort of cusp as it was right before the preposterous notions of electricity, internal combustion, and nuclear physics were proven out. And it could explain some of the more mysterious current events like for instance why has the price of oil tanked? And why are so many sectors like AGW and clean water crying out for a new energy source?

Only Luddites and old people wouldn't find the potential exciting.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (22) Mar 19, 2015
The re-introduction of biochar is now necessary to re-build the Amazonian soil.

Look it up.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (22) Mar 19, 2015
otto,

Speaking of carbon, I left a prediction for you and others in the thread http://phys.org/n...sis.html

Check it out. If you want to know how I know, look up NASA Technical Memorandum 8130

I'm listed on the top of page 41.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (21) Mar 19, 2015
otto,

Speaking of carbon, I left a prediction for you and others in the thread http://phys.org/n...sis.html

Check it out. If you want to know how I know, look up NASA Technical Memorandum 8130

I'm listed on the top of page 41.
How can someone with your alleged pedigree not know how to post a link or use the quote button? More evidence that you are a phony.
MR166
1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2015
What exactly is happening at Mauna Loa.

http://co2now.org...co2.html

There was a 2 year ( almost 4ppm ) swing in CO2 levels in a week.

Perhaps this is not the best location for a CO2 measurement system.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (22) Mar 19, 2015
"How can someone with your alleged pedigree not know how to post a link or use the quote button? More evidence that you are a phony."
---------------------------------------

It's a pdf. You have to look it up, like I did.

Unless you are either incapable or afraid.

Or both.

I made a prediction, Toots, where you are SCARED to even tell us who you are or anything else.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (21) Mar 20, 2015
its a pdf
Its a link to a physorg article you retard.
I made a prediction, Toots, where you are SCARED to even tell us who you are or anything else
Only noobs or maniacs would disclose personal info on an Internet site such as this. Or senile old braggarts. Most of the posters here know better.

But as I've said our backrounds are immaterial to the info we post; it's either right or its not. Except in your case, where you post crap and then use your alleged experience to try to convince people it's true.

Why do you think that orbital power stations would cause cataracts? Is it because you were a 'technical spook' (a term you made up, actually grease monkey) on an Air Force base?

Why would you think that your experience would make that nonsense any less wrong? I'm open for debate.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Mar 20, 2015
Unable to debate the issues, otto and his lovechild, Eikka, are in a personal blood feud with me, it seems.

They do not like my discussions of my own personal experiences, because they prove the wiki-inspired theories of their own absolutely wrong, and the product of insufficient education and experience.

Identifying myself to them was a calculated risk, knowing their character. We can deal with them.

The point here, is this is a forum of professionals and those who wish to become professionals. There is no room for screaming nasty comments and filthy language. I thought these people would nave manners, some professional courtesy, some education in the fields, but no, they are screaming nuts.

No parent would expose his kid to otto's filthy mouth.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Mar 20, 2015
we can save the Amazon with care and the re-introduction of biochar. Look it up.

I have a friend who is working with this stuff, trying to get nations to get back to it.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Mar 20, 2015
"But as I've said our backrounds are immaterial to the info we post, . . . "
--------------------------------

Says the man without one. If you think backgrounds are not important, look into some of the comments in this forum. Wiki-Warriors usually find the words they are looking form, and cut some phrase out of an article they do not understand, then try to claim it as Absolute Truth.

"Either right or wrong"? How long have you been alive? Do you really think life is a simple duality?

gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Mar 20, 2015
Eikka, look into biochar and give me your opinion, please.

No, I did not work with it, but it seems to be a secret to saving the Amazon.

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