Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 1   April 1, 2011

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Amazon droughts kills trees that normally absorb CO2. The dead trees send more CO2 into the atmosphere as they rot. This lessens surviving trees' CO2 uptake.
Image: K. Didan, University of Arizona via NASA

The Amazon's rainforests are an important guard against global warming. They absorb over 25% of the world's carbon emissions.

However, that may change. Scientists say a record drought in 2010 killed billions of trees in the Amazon Rainforest. They fear that the forest itself might become a major source for greenhouse gas emissions

British ecologist Simon Lewis from the University of Leeds says, "If events like this happen more often, the Amazon rainforest would reach a point where it shifts from being a valuable carbon sink slowing climate change to a major source of greenhouse gases that could speed it up."

A study by Leeds and his team found
Amazon forest would not absorb its usual 1,500,000 metric tons of CO2 in both 2010 and 2011.
The dead and dying trees would release 5,000,000,000  metric tons of CO2,
The total impact will add about  8,000,000,000 metric tons of CO2 to our air.
8,000,000,000 metric tons of CO2 is far greater than America's yearly emissions of 5,400,000,000.

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Measure your ecological footprint, pledge to reduce it and see the big difference your  small changes make!,569571

There's a growing recognition of the connections between global warming and our food systems. Global climate change disrupts and destroys growing seasons for many plants.  i

"…the evidence does, in fact, suggest that what we’re getting now is a first taste of the disruption, economic and political, that we’ll face in a warming world," said economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner. "And given our failure to act on greenhouse gases, there will be much more, and much worse, to come."

Scientists have long predicted that intense winters and heavy snowfalls may be caused by global warming. A warmer planet means more water evaporates from the ocean, and that means more precipitation follows.

Less sea ice also means warmer water and an increase in air pressure. Melting ice has caused unusual and unstable patterns in the "polar vortex" where the coldest air on earth blows. When air pressure inside the Polar Vortex increases, it becomes unstable like a top that's losing its spin. When that happens, frigid polar air can escape boundaries that normally confines it.

This may be what's causing our severe winter weather.

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