(NBC) – The Amazon region’s vegetation and waterways are at risk due to this summer’s record fires, but scientists and researchers are also paying attention to weather.
An invisible atmospheric river that sends water vapor from the rainforest’s numerous trees help hydrate the land and provide moisture all over the South American continent. The continued loss of vegetation in the Amazon could have a cumulative effect on rainfall patterns around the Earth including the U.S. Midwest, threatening food production and destabilizing ecosystems, according to the experts.
“The Amazon is definitely a weather engine,” said Meg Symington, the World Wildlife Fund’s senior director for the Amazon in the United States.
“It’s well-known that the weather patterns affect rainfall in the breadbasket of South America,” she added, “but there’s also evidence that it affects the breadbasket that is the middle of the U.S.”
A 2014 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that “complete Amazon deforestation would reduce rainfall in the U.S. Midwest, Northwest and parts of the south during the agricultural season.”
More information on the NBC website.