Model gives a 3-month warning of Amazonian forest fires



[1] The widespread drought suffered by the Amazon rain forest in the summer of 2005 was heralded at the time as the drought of the century. Because of the dehydrated conditions, supplemented by slash and burn agricultural practices, the drought led to widespread forest fires throughout the western Amazon, a portion of the rain forest usually too lush to support spreading wildfires. Only 5 years later, the 2005 season was outdone by even more widespread drought, with fires decimating more than 3000 square kilometers of western Amazonian rain forest. Blame for the wildfires has been consistently laid on deforestation and agricultural practices, but a convincing climatological explanation exists as well. (Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL047392, 2011)