The Amazon Jungle, is the majestic broad-leafed rainforest lying in the heart of Brazil covering an impressive area of seven million square kilometres (or 1.7 billion acres). The basin covers some 40% of the South American continent including Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The Amazon rainforest is very vital for Brazil and its people as it is their home and their culture is closely connected to the forest, rivers and fauna.
Scientists reported that the forests are no more producing much vapour clouds because of deforestation and climate change. The vapour clouds are responsible for rain to Brazil.
The Amazon jungle is considered as the world’s most sensitive ecosystems, powerfully affected by the intake and release of carbon into the atmosphere.
According to final figures released by the Brazilian government last Wednesday, there is spur of 29% in deforestation.
According to satellite images starting from August 2012 and end on July 2013, 5,891 sq km of forest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) released the report showing the first time increase in the deforestation rate since 2008.
“The result indicates there is effectiveness in combating deforestation, particularly since the 2004 creation of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon,” the report suggests.
The drought has affected the largest city of Brazil, São Paulo. It is believed that the absence of the “flying rivers” has caused the drought.
Vapor that are released from the tree leaves in the Amazon rainforest creates vital “flying rivers,” the term that was coined by Jose Marengo, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These are air currents that bring water vapour from Amazonia, in the equatorial zone of Northern South America, down as far south as Northern Argentina. The humidity that is held by these “airborne rivers” causes much of the rain that falls in the Centre-West, Southeast and South of Brazil.
INPE released images also witnessed the lack of arrival of flying rivers during January and February that used to arrive from the past five years.
Tocantins, Pará and Mato Grosso, three states in the Greater Amazon region have gone through massive deforestation.
Antonio Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climate scientists said “Destroying the Amazon to advance the agricultural frontier is like shooting yourself in the foot. The Amazon is a gigantic hydrological pump that brings the humidity of the Atlantic Ocean into the continent and guarantees the irrigation of the region.”
“Of course, we need agriculture,” he added. “But without trees there would be no water, and without water there is no food.
“A tonne of soy takes several tonnes of water to produce. When we export soy we are exporting fresh water to countries that don’t have this rain and can’t produce. It is the same with cotton, with ethanol. Water is the main agricultural input. If it weren’t, the Sahara would be green, because it has extremely fertile soil.”
He also commented emphasizing on the importance of the Amazon, “A big tree with a crown 20 metres across evaporates up to 300 litres a day, whereas one square metre of ocean evaporates exactly one square metre,” he said. “One square metre of forest can contain eight or 10 metres of leaves, so it evaporates eight or 10 times more than the ocean. This flying river, which rises into the atmosphere in the form of vapour, is bigger than the biggest river on the Earth.”
Nobre also warned and said, “The smoke from forest fires introduces too many particles into the atmosphere, dries the clouds, and they don’t rain. During the dry period, of the fires, the forest always maintained a little rain that left it humid and non-flammable, but now two months go by without rain, the forest gets very dry, and the fire gets into it. Amazon trees, unlike those of the Cerrado, have no resistance to fire.”