Research Spotlight: Amazon region became less green due to 2010 drought

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Abstract

[1] New research shows that the Amazon region became significantly less green due to a severe 2010 drought. Xu et al. analyzed satellite-based measurements to compare the greenness of Amazon vegetation due to the 2010 drought to that caused by a severe drought in 2005. They found that the decline in greenness due to the 2010 drought affected an area 4 times greater than the area affected in 2005. More than half of all drought-stricken forest showed greenness declines in 2010, compared to only 14% in 2005. Furthermore, the declines in greenness in 2010 persisted past the time when rainfall returned to normal levels. Vegetation that is not as green absorbs less carbon dioxide (CO2), leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere, possibly accelerating global warming. (Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL046824, 2011)