Climate change in Amazonia caused by soybean cropland expansion, as compared to caused by pastureland expansion

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Abstract

[1] In the last two decades, the strong increase of pasturelands over former rainforest areas has raised concerns about the climate change that such change in land cover might cause. In recent years, though, expansion of soybean croplands has been increasingly important in the agricultural growth in Amazonia. In this paper we use the climate model CCM3 to investigate whether the climate change due to soybean expansion in Amazonia would be any different from the one due to pastureland expansion. The land component of the model has been updated with new findings from the Large-Scale Biosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), and a new soybean micrometeorological experiment in Amazonia. Results show that the decrease in precipitation after a soybean extension is significantly higher when compared to the change after a pastureland extension, a consequence of the very high albedo of the soybean.

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