Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Climate prediction tools show role of oceans in Amazon drought

Barbara Fraser in Forest News: The best place to look for clues about potential drought in the Amazon forests of Peru is on the other side of South America, off the shores of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean, according to scientists.

During the past 10 years, rising sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic have corresponded with lower-than-normal precipitation in the western Amazon, enabling scientists to predict droughts about three months ahead of the July-to-September dry season.

That knowledge can provide enough advance warning for farmers and local government officials to take steps to prevent wildfires and avoid serious damage to forests, property and crops, said scientists working with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“People in the Amazon use fire every year to clear the land for planting,” said Katia Fernandes, an associate research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University in New York who is working with CIFOR on a study of climate and fire in Peru....

A tree boa in the Amazon jungle of Peru, shot by Amarumayo, public domain 

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