Drought sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest

Phillips, Oliver L., Aragão, Luiz E.O.C., Lewis, Simon L., Fisher, Joshua B., Lloyd, Jon, López-González, Gabriela, Malhi, Yadvinder, Monteagudo, Abel, Peacock, Julie, Quesada, Carlos A., van der Heijden, Geertje, Almeida, Samuel, Amaral, Iêda, Arroyo, Luzmila, Aymard, Gerardo, Baker, Tim R., Bánki, Olaf, Blanc, Lilian, Bonal, Damien, Brando, Paulo, Chave, Jerome, Alves de Oliveira, Átila Cristina, Dávila Cardozo, Nallaret, Czimczik, Claudia I., Feldpausch, Ted R., Freitas, Maria Aparecida, Gloor, Emanuel, Higuchi, Niro, Jiménez, Eliana, Lloyd, Gareth, Meir, Patrick, Mendoza, Casimiro, Morel, Alexandra, Neill, David A., Nepstad, Daniel, Patiño, Sandra, Peñuela, Maria Cristina, Prieto, Adriana, Ramírez, Fredy, Schwarz, Michael, Silva, Javier, Silveira, Marcos, Sota Thomas, Anne, ter Steege, Hans, Stropp, Juliana, Vásquez, Rodolfo, Zelazowski, Przemyslaw, Dávila, Esteban Alvarez, Andelman, Sandy, Andrade, Ana, Chao, Kuo-Jung, Erwin, Terry, Di Fiore, Anthony, Honorio C., Eurídice, Keeling, Helen, Killeen, Tim J., Laurance, William F., Peña Cruz, Antonio, Pitman, Nigel C.A., Vargas, Percy Núñez, Ramírez-Angulo, Hirma, Rudas, Agustín, Salamão, Rafael, Silva, Natalino, Terborgh, John, and Torres-Lezama, Armando (2009) Drought sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest. Science, 323 (5919). pp. 1344-1347.

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Abstract

Amazon forests are a key but poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle. If, as anticipated, they dry this century, they might accelerate climate change through carbon losses and changed surface energy balances. We used records from multiple long-term monitoring plots across Amazonia to assess forest responses to the intense 2005 drought, a possible analog of future events. Affected forest lost biomass, reversing a large long-term carbon sink, with the greatest impacts observed where the dry season was unusually intense. Relative to pre-2005 conditions, forest subjected to a 100-millimeter increase in water deficit lost 5.3 megagrams of aboveground biomass of carbon per hectare. The drought had a total biomass carbon impact of 1.2 to 1.6 petagrams (1.2 × 1015 to 1.6 × 1015 grams). Amazon forests therefore appear vulnerable to increasing moisture stress, with the potential for large carbon losses to exert feedback on climate change.

Item ID: 18008
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2011 23:36
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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