Huge, mysterious pillars of light have ‘emerged’ near the town of Palotino, Brazil on the 17th of December, 2012
As the Amazon rainforest disappears, rainfall falters over a much wider area
When Amazon rainforest disappears, so does Amazon rain.
That’s the conclusion of new research that shows deforestation can significantly reduce tropical rainfall far from the area where trees have been cut down.
That’s because air passing over forests picks up moisture given off by trees and plants, fueling rains. When those trees disappear, so does some of that rain.
“What we found was this really strong impact — air that traveled over a lot of forest brought a lot more rain than air that didn’t travel over very much forest,” said lead author Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds.
His research, published yesterday in the journal Nature, helps reconcile a situation that has puzzled scientists.
Climate models project that Amazon deforestation would reduce rainfall regionally. But limited observations show that rainfall in deforested areas is higher than in areas where the rainforest is still intact.
(Scientists believe that when trees are cut down, the bare surfaces left behind absorb more Read more…
RAINFOREST TO PASTURE: Deforestation, among other human impacts such as climate change, are having a rainforest-wide impact on the Amazon. Image: Courtesy of Compton Tucker, NASA GSFC
The Amazon rainforest is in flux, thanks to agricultural expansion and climate change. In other words, humans have “become important agents of disturbance in the Amazon Basin,” as an international consortium of scientists wrote in a review of the state of the science on the world’s largest rainforest published in Nature on January 19. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) The dry season is growing longer in areas where humans have been clearing the trees—as has water discharge from Amazon River tributaries in those regions. Multiyear and more frequent severe droughts, like those in 2005 and 2010, are killing trees that humans don’t cut down as well as increasing the risks of more common fires (both man-made and otherwise).
The trees are also growing fast—faster than expected for a “mature” rainforest—according to a network of measurements.
The exact cause or causes of this accelerated growth—which means the Amazon’s 5 million square kilometers of trees are now Read more…
Mouths of the Amazon
A giant hidden river flows beneath the jungles of Brazil.
A river hidden underground has surfaced. Scientists estimate a subterranean river, called Rio Hamza, may be 6,000km long and hundreds of times wider than the Amazon
The territory in Brazil has 20% of freshwater on the planet, but apparently, this number may be even greater. According to the State agency, Researchers at the National Observatory (ON) found evidence of an underground river of 6,000 km in length, which runs down the Amazon River, at a depth of 4000 meters.
The two streams still have the same flow direction, ie from west to east, but its features are quite different.Brazilian scientists have discovered the existence of an underground river about 6,000 kilometers long running 4,000 meters deep Read more…
From July 2010 to July 2011 the vast South American rainforest lost 2,654 square kilometers (1,649 square miles) of vegetation in the states of Mato Grosso and Para, according to a preliminary analysis of satellite photos.
The year before, 2,295 square kilometers (1,426 square miles) were destroyed over that time period.
This July, 225 square kilometers (139 square miles) were lost to deforestation, though this was significantly less than the 485 square kilometers (301 square miles) destroyed in July 2010.
In April 477 square kilometers (296 square miles) were destroyed, with Read more…
During the meeting, the two sides called for “the speedy implementation of agreements” reached by Iran and Brazil in the past, IRIB reported.
The Iranian and Brazilian officials also emphasized the importance of further interactions among political, economic and parliamentary institutions of the two countries.
The Brazilian deputy foreign minister described Iran as one of “the important partners of Brazil” and an “influential” country in the world.
Louisa noted that Tehran and Brasilia will attempt to Read more…
The Brazilian government has started work on a submarine programme which will include the construction of South America’s first nuclear subs.
The move will boost Brazil’s claim to be the strongest force in the region, and strengthen the country’s military assertiveness.
This new-found power may harm Britain in the event of another flare-up over the Falklands, according to U.S. news agency Global Post, as Brazil thinks the islands should belong to Argentina.
The defence plan was announced in 2008, and will eventually involve the construction of five new submarines. Each will cost around $565 million.
The first, being built in collaboration with a French contractor, is due to come into service in 2016.
By the time the programme is complete, Brazil will Read more…
The system can compare biometric data at 46,000 points on a face and will immediately signal any matches to known criminals or people wanted by police.
If there is a match a red signal will appear on a small screen connected to the glasses, alerting the police officer of the need to take further action or make an arrest.
SANYA, China (Reuters) – The BRICS group of emerging-market powers kept up the pressure on Thursday for a revamped global monetary system that relies less on the dollar and for a louder voice in international financial institutions.
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa also called for stronger regulation of commodity derivatives to dampen excessive volatility in food and energy prices, which they said posed new risks for the recovery of the world economy.
Meeting on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, they said the recent financial crisis had exposed the inadequacies of the current monetary order, which has the dollar as its linchpin.
What was needed, they said in a statement, was “a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty” — thinly veiled criticism of what the BRICS see as Washington’s neglect of its global monetary responsibilities.
The BRICS are worried that America’s large trade and budget deficits will eventually debase the dollar. They also begrudge the financial and political privileges that come with being the leading reserve currency.
“The world economy is undergoing profound and complex changes,” Chinese President Hu Jintao said. “The era demands that the BRICS countries strengthen dialogue and cooperation.”
In another dig at the dollar, the development banks of the five BRICS nations agreed to establish mutual credit lines denominated in their local currencies, not the U.S. currency.
The head of China Development Bank (CDB), Chen Yuan, said he was prepared to lend up to 10 billion yuan to fellow BRICS, and his Russian counterpart said he was looking to borrow the yuan equivalent of at least $500 million via CDB.
“We think this will undoubtedly broaden the opportunities for Russian companies to diversify their loans,” Vladimir Dmitriev, the chairman of VEB, Read more…
Brazilian lawmakers say they will propose a national vote on whether to ban the sale of guns, after a deadly shooting at a school last week.
The Senate leader said legislators would rush through a bill to allow a referendum to be held this autumn.
A similar proposal in 2005 was rejected by voters and kept gun sales legal.
Brazil observed three days of mourning after the attack on 7 April, in which a gunman shot dead 12 children in a school in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil is no stranger to gun violence, with frequent shoot-outs in major cities, but the attack in Rio de Janeiro shocked the nation.
The shooting sparked a debate over gun sales that has left lawmakers unable to ignore the issue.
The bill would have to be approved by both the Senate and the House before going on the ballot.
The leader of Brazil’s Senate, Jose Sarney, said any referendum would be held at the beginning of October – the earliest possible date for the bill to pass Read more…