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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

A deforestation-induced tipping point for the South American monsoon system

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Author(s):
Boers, Niklas ; Marwan, Norbert ; Barbosa, Henrique M. J. ; Kurths, Juergen
Total Authors: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS; v. 7, JAN 25 2017.
Web of Science Citations: 21
Abstract

The Amazon rainforest has been proposed as a tipping element of the earth system, with the possibility of a dieback of the entire ecosystem due to deforestation only of parts of the rainforest. Possible physical mechanisms behind such a transition are still subject to ongoing debates. Here, we use a specifically designed model to analyse the nonlinear couplings between the Amazon rainforest and the atmospheric moisture transport from the Atlantic to the South American continent. These couplings are associated with a westward cascade of precipitation and evapotranspiration across the Amazon. We investigate impacts of deforestation on the South American monsoonal circulation with particular focus on a previously neglected positive feedback related to condensational latent heating over the rainforest, which strongly enhances atmospheric moisture inflow from the Atlantic. Our results indicate the existence of a tipping point. In our model setup, crossing the tipping point causes precipitation reductions of up to 40% in non-deforested parts of the western Amazon and regions further downstream. The responsible mechanism is the breakdown of the aforementioned feedback, which occurs when deforestation reduces transpiration to a point where the available atmospheric moisture does not suffice anymore to release the latent heat needed to maintain the feedback. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/50151-0 - Dynamical phenomena in complex networks: fundamentals and applications
Grantee:Elbert Einstein Nehrer Macau
Support type: Research Projects - Thematic Grants
FAPESP's process: 13/50510-5 - Brazil-USA collaborative research: modifications by anthropogenic pollution of the natural atmospheric chemistry and particle microphysics of the tropical rain forest during GoAmazon intensive operating periods
Grantee:Henrique de Melo Jorge Barbosa
Support type: Research Program on Global Climate Change - Regular Grants