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Brazil to build a tower in the Amazon to monitor climate change effects



A giant observation tower to assess the relationship between climate change and the forest is to be built in the Amazon, whose sensitive ecosystem can provide unique insight data on weather events and carbon capture.

The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) project is led by the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) and Germany’s Max Planck Institute.

The 325-metre structure will gather information on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, heat, water and carbon absorption.

Paulo Artaxo, a project coordinator from the University of Sao Paulo, told the press, “The tower will help us answer innumerable questions related to global climate change.

“We will gain a better understanding of the role of the Amazon and other humid tropical areas in climate models”.

Jurgen Kesselmeier, the project coordinator from the Max Planck Institute, added, “The measurement point is widely without direct human influence, and therefore ideal to investigate the meaning of the forest region for the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere.

The Amazon is one of the world’s most fragile and sensitive ecosystems, and for this reason the data collected is expected to be of particular value.

However, the region is also experiencing devastating deforestation, which alone is responsible for 54 tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere every year.

Latest figures released by the Brazilian government revealed that despite efforts to tackle the phenomenon, deforestation in the Amazon increased by 29% in 2013.

Previous research also showed that the destruction of the forest is largely done illegally and consumer-driven.

Photo: Ivan Mlinaric via flickr

Further reading:

Amazon deforestation rate up 29% in 2013

Consumer demand drives illegal deforestation – report

Speed of Amazon deforestation increased by 88% in 2012

Clearing of Amazon rainforest for agriculture emits 54 million tons of carbon per year

Ending deforestation would cut global emissions by one-fifth

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