Post-drought decline of the Amazon carbon sink
Saatchi, Sassan S.
Myneni, Ranga B.
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Citation (published version)Yan Yang, Sassan S Saatchi, Liang Xu, Yifan Yu, Sungho Choi, Nathan Phillips, Robert Kennedy, Michael Keller, Yuri Knyazikhin, Ranga B Myneni. 2018. "Post-drought decline of the Amazon carbon sink." NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Volume 9, pp. 9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05668-6
Amazon forests have experienced frequent and severe droughts in the past two decades. However, little is known about the large-scale legacy of droughts on carbon stocks and dynamics of forests. Using systematic sampling of forest structure measured by LiDAR waveforms from 2003 to 2008, here we show a significant loss of carbon over the entire Amazon basin at a rate of 0.3 ± 0.2 (95% CI) PgC yr−1 after the 2005 mega-drought, which continued persistently over the next 3 years (2005–2008). The changes in forest structure, captured by average LiDAR forest height and converted to above ground biomass carbon density, show an average loss of 2.35 ± 1.80 MgC ha−1 a year after (2006) in the epicenter of the drought. With more frequent droughts expected in future, forests of Amazon may lose their role as a robust sink of carbon, leading to a significant positive climate feedback and exacerbating warming trends.
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