Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Saturday, September 29, 2012

COME AGAIN? A FLYING RIVER?


Yes, you read it right. A group of Brazilian scientists has been studying over 30 years the air masses which drift from the Amazon region and carry humidity to other regions of Brazil.  The vapour volume conveyed by these flying rivers can be bigger than the discharge of all Brazilian mid-western rivers altogether reaching astonishing 200,000 cu m/s. In other words an amount of water equivalent to the Amazon river discharge may pass over our heads in one second. Still, according to researches a single large tree alone can  transpire 12,000 gallons of water a day. The Amazon rain forest works as a water pump drawing to the continent all humidity evaporated from the Atlantic ocean. This humidity becomes rain and falls over the rainforest itself. 
To show how these flying rivers bring rain to Brazil and South America, British-born pilot Gerard Moss flies aboard his single-engine Embraer 721 aircraft above the Amazon rainforest  "Climate change is taking its toll. The United States is going through its worst drought in half a century, Russia is also reeling from drought and in India monsoon rains have for years been irregular," he said. "Brazil is less affected because we have the world's biggest tropical forest, which helps regulate the climate."


Deforestation is, however, an important counterfactor. With logging and agriculture shrinking Brazil's rainforests, there are fewer trees to release the water vapour that creates these flying rivers. 
Scientists believe nearly 20% of the Amazon has been destroyed and some fear a point of no return if destruction reaches 35% to 40%. Large-scale deforestation has made Brazil one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, but the government has vowed to curb it and has made significant strides in the past decade. Brazilian authorities confirmed earlier this year that deforestation fell to a record low of 6 418 km² in 2011, down from a peak of 27 000km² in 2004.
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