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Amazon Forests Green-up during 2005 drought

Scott R. Saleska, University of Arizona, saleska@email.arizona.edu (Presenting)
Kamel Didan, University of Arizona, kamel@Ag.arizona.edu
Alfredo R. Huete, University of Arizona, ahuete@Ag.arizona.edu
Brad Christoffersen, University of Arizona, bchristo@email.arizona.edu
Natalia Restrepo-Coupe, University of Arizona, ncoupe@email.arizona.edu

Coupled climate-carbon cycle modeling studies indicate that Amazon forests are vulnerable to drought, and some predict substantial carbon loss from tropical ecosystems, including the drought-induced collapse of the Amazon forest and conversion to savanna. The model-simulated future forest collapse is attributable, in part, to a forest physiological feedback mechanism which should be observable as reductions in transpiration and photosynthesis during drought years under current climates. A widespread drought occurred in the Amazon in 2005, the first such climatic anomaly since the launch of the Terra satellite’s MODIS sensor in 1999, providing a unique opportunity to compare actual forest drought response to expectation on broad spatial scales. Contrary to expectation based on model simulations, satellite observations showed a large-scale green-up in intact evergreen forests of the Amazon in response to the 2005 drought. These findings suggest that Amazon forests, though threatened by human-caused deforestation and fire, may be more resilient to climate changes than ecosystem models assume.

Science Theme:  CD (Carbon Dynamics)

Session:  1A: Remote Sensing and the Carbon Cycle

Presentation Type:  Oral (view presentation (4598 KB))

Abstract ID: 98

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