Amazon Rainforest could be 85% gone in 100 years
Scientists at the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen this weekend, deliver some alarming news for the Amazon Rainforest: a rise in 4 degrees will kill off 85% of the whole forest in the next 100 years.
The fact that the temperature is rising will hurt any attemps to save the rainforest as scientists say that even if severe cuts are made to deforestation and carbon emissions, this won't be able to save the rainforest. They are calling the inevitable destruction of the forest 'irreversible'.
Vicky Pope, of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which carried out the study, said: "The impacts of climate change on the Amazon are much worse than we thought. As temperatures rise quickly over the coming century the damage to the forest won't be obvious straight away, but we could be storing up trouble for the future."
Climate Change is what the scientists are saying will deliver the ultimate death blow.
If temperatures only rise even 2 degrees, this will still mean a 20 to 40 % death rate for the rainforest. If it rises 3 degrees it will see a 75% death rate and a 4 degrees rise will kill off 85% and the Amazon as it is seen today would be gone.
This is the first time that a long term effect has really been looked at.
This does not just affect the people living near the rainforest. These tropical areas help determine the world's weather systems and with the forest gone, it is likely that much more extreme weather will take over the planet. Instead of sucking up carbon as well, it would become a place where carbon levels in the air would be devastating.
Trees growing in higher latitudes would help offset some of the loss, but not enough to help with the widespread loss of the rainforest.
There is currently only a 50% chance of being able to keep the world temperature rise under 2 degrees unless emissions are cut so drastically but it looks like countries are not willing to conform to these cuts.
This best-case emissions scenario is based on emissions peaking in 2015 and quickly changing from an increase of 2-3% per year to a decrease of 3% per year. For every 10 years this action is delayed, the most likely temperature rise increases by 0.5C.
A 2 degrees rise may not sound like much but it will have irreversible effects to areas like the savannahs and major world ecosystems.
In the rainforest, increased temperatures will mean less rainfall will occur in that region. This leads to drought, which then will cause the roots of the trees to collapse and fall over and the forest will die and become incredibly dry. This will then make it susceptible to fire, which can destroy more forests and everything else around it.
There is currently a climate change meeting happening in Copenhagen, which is aimed to get politicians to take action to cut emissions and carbon pollution. There is also a UN summit in December in Copenhagen where a new deal will try to be reached to replace the Kyoto protocol.