March 25, 2023

Scientists say changes in the Amazon are affecting Tibet

The Amazon rainforest and Tibet, 20,000 km apart, may seem completely cut off from each other, but a recent study shows that what’s happening in northern Brazil can do just that. Trigger changes in the climate of Southeast Asia. The region suffers from severe droughts that may be related to the changes that occurred in the Amazon region.

The definition of an ecosystem is broad and can define a small area such as an urban park or a huge area – even the entire planet. In this context, the extreme weather events that have occurred in the Amazon region in recent years, due to fires and deforestation, are reflected in other parts of the world.

Scientists use the concept “turning point” – tipping point, or critical point – indicates when the environment has reached a point where changes in the ecosystem are significant and irreversible. Around the Amazon, there is talk of the possibility of turning it into a savanna environment thanks to climate change. What recent studies suggest is that the critical point of a place can create a “domino effect”, causing other areas to reach collapse as well.

Tibetan hot spot

“We were surprised at how closely the climate extremes in the Amazon were linked to those in Tibet,” says Jurgen Kurths, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The study was part of using data from the past 40 years to map climate links between regions. His team found connections between South America and Southeast Asia, through southern Africa and the Middle East.

Through computer simulations, the researchers designed a scenario for the year 2100, to see how these links might behave with climate trends. The discovery was that as the Amazon gets warmer, the temperatures also rise in Tibet, but when the rains get higher in the forest, so does the precipitation. Snow in the Asian mountains Autumn.

This relationship is troubling because the water from the melting Himalayas is used by billions of people in Southeast Asia. The region is already experiencing a water crisis, but it could worsen at the same time as the deforestation of the Amazon.

Domino effect

Other regions of the world are experiencing sensitive situations due to climate change. the Arctic regionfor example, its temperature is rising two to three times faster than the global average.

Although researchers are familiar with these areas of concern, the potential for their hotspots has been underestimated, according to Curtis. However, it is highly unlikely for the study authors that all ecosystems could collapse at once. In any case, “it’s a risk we want to avoid,” says Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, co-author of the study.

Source: NatureClimate Change. Climate change via: