Brazil's sugarcane boom could affect regional temperatures



With the world seeking to cut its dependence on fossil fuels, the use of bioethanol and other biofuels is on the rise. In Brazil, the second largest producer and consumer of bioethanol, this has led to a boom in sugarcane production. Based on new laws and trade agreements, researchers expect Brazil's production of sugarcane-derived ethanol to increase tenfold over the next decade, with considerable land being converted for growing sugarcane. Much of this expansion is expected to come at a loss of some of the country's cerrado savannas. So while a major aim of the turn to biofuels is to reduce the transfer of carbon to the atmosphere and mitigate global climate change, the shifting agricultural activity could have direct consequences on Brazil's climate by changing the region's physical and biogeochemical properties.