Effects of Amazon and Central Brazil deforestation scenarios on the duration of the dry season in the arc of deforestation

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Abstract

Climate change predictions tied to Amazon deforestation scenarios are increasingly being used by government and non-government organisations for near-future planning applications. Despite incorporating a wide range of biophysical variables, these models neglect future scenarios of land use for adjoining regions, such as the Central Brazil Cerrado, which has been deforested by more than 50%. In this study, we investigate the impact of different Amazon and Central Brazil deforestation scenarios on the rainfall regime of the ‘arc-of-deforestation’ in Amazonia. We demonstrate that both Amazon and Cerrado deforestation contribute to an increase of the duration of the dry season in this region. Combining the effects of both scenarios, the dry season may increase from 5 months to 6 months, which may change the biosphere–atmosphere equilibrium in this region. This study demonstrates that the assessment of future Cerrado land use scenarios is also necessary to understand the future climate and ecosystem health of Amazonia. Copyright © 2009 Royal Meteorological Society

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