Recent trends of Amazonian climate, its causes and the response of its humid tropical forests

Amazonia is potentially an important region for future changes of the global climate system because its vegetation, the rainforests, constitute a large ‘labile’ carbon pool. This is particularly so given that the Amazon is warming fast and its hydrological cycle is becoming more variable over the last three decades with an increasing frequency of both severe floods and comparably dry conditions, while on the other hand increasing atmospheric CO2 should have made it easier for the forests to grow as CO2 is a key resource for growth. A diagnostic of the state of these forests is their carbon balance. We are pursuing two approaches to determine these responses. Firstly we have  started regular bi-weekly vertical profile measurements at four strategically selected locations in the Basin in 2009 using small aircraft to estimate greenhouse gas balances. Secondly our  group maintains a widespread forestcensus network since approximately 1980. The measurement periods cover two unusually dry years, 2005 and 2010. In this talk I will report on ongoing climate changes in  the Basin, on land use change, and on what our measurement approaches tell us about how the humid forests have been changing over recent decades.

Emanuel Gloor is a Professor of Biogeochemical Cycling at University of Leeds. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Princeton University with Jorge Sarmiento and Stephen Pacala, and Senior Scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena. His work focuses on diagnosing and understanding status and changes of the contemporary global carbon cycle and related biogeochemical cycles on land and in the oceans using observations and modelling. 

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