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Drought in the Amazon

Posted by Lindy on November 18, 2010

Thursday, Nov. 11

While researching in the Amazon region, scientists were wondering why the river levels were so low. When they returned to base, on Oct. 26, an email from Maneus confirmed that the river had dropped to the lowest recorded level since measuring began 108 years ago. Two of the three worst Amazon droughts in history have now occurred within the last five years, the sort of coincidence that also turns up in conversations these days about icebergs and hurricanes and Siberian heat waves. Long dry spells like these in Amazonia wither crops and worsen air pollution and cut off whole towns from the rest of the world, when the arm of the river they’re on turns to mud. They also destroy forests. Scientists used to think that if the guys with chainsaws could be convinced to stop cutting down trees, tropical deforestation would just stop. We now know that if all the guys with chainsaws stopped cutting down trees tomorrow morning, Amazonian forests might disappear anyway, thanks to higher temperatures, droughts, and forest fires.

However not all doom and gloom – read the article to see what is good to come out of the Amazon too.

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