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Amazon Rainforest Crisis

Why in News?

  • The “lungs of the earth”, the Amazon Rainforest, is currently experiencing a severe and unprecedented drought.
  • This crisis is profoundly affecting the Indigenous people’s lives and the entire ecosystem.

More about the news

Factors Causing Drought in the Amazon Rainforest

El Ni帽o Phenomenon:

  • It is a major driver of the drought.
  • Causes abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean’s surface waters, impacting rainfall patterns.
  • Leads to reduced humidity and rainfall in the Amazon, intensifying drought.

High Water Temperatures in the Northern Tropical Atlantic Ocean:

  • Warm ocean waters cause heated air to rise, which then affects the Amazon.
  • This warm air hinders cloud formation, resulting in a sharp decrease in rainfall.

Anthropogenic Climate Change:

  • Deforestation, from activities like agriculture and logging, weakens the Amazon’s ability to control climate and retain moisture.
  • The loss of vast vegetation areas escalates temperatures, generating a cycle of worsening droughts due to reduced evapotranspiration.

Mining Activity:

  • Unregulated mining creates land barriers, affecting river navigation.
  • Mining’s ecological impact releases pollutants and greenhouse gases, influencing the climate.

Hydroelectric Dams:

  • Particularly on the Madeira River, a major Amazon tributary.
  • Reservoir creation alters natural river flows and impacts ecosystems.
  • Decomposing organic matter in reservoirs emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Transportation Infrastructure:

  • Infrastructure, like highways, cuts through conserved areas.
  • Increases deforestation and climatic anomalies.

Impact on the Water Cycle

  • Collective disruptions from the above factors harm the Amazon’s natural water cycle.
  • This results in decreased river water volumes, extended droughts, and detrimental effects on aquatic fauna, habitats, and dependent communities.

Drought’s Consequences on the Amazon Rainforest

  • Water Levels: Record low levels observed in rivers, including the significant Rio Negro.
  • Human Impact: Many are stranded in remote areas, facing scarcity in food, clean water, medicine, and other essentials.
  • Health Concerns: Outbreaks of diseases like diarrhoea and skin infections due to contaminated water.
  • Biodiversity: The rainforest’s diverse wildlife, including fish and the Amazon River dolphins (boto or pink river dolphin), are dying, leading to polluted water bodies.
  • Forest Fires: The drought escalates forest fire risks, destroying vast vegetation, emitting large CO2 volumes, and causing poor air quality in many regions due to smoke.
About the Amazon Rainforest

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Occupies the Amazon River’s drainage basin and its tributaries in northern South America, spanning 6,000,000 square km.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Supports the world鈥檚 most extensive rainforest, contributing to over half the global rainforest volume.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Located in regions of Brazil, Peru, Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Suriname, French Guiana, and Venezuela, it forms the world鈥檚 largest drainage system.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Bordered by the Guiana Highlands, Andes Mountains, Brazilian Central Plateau, and the Atlantic Ocean.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 These tropical forests lie within 28 degrees of the equator, receiving over 200 cm of rainfall annually, with temperatures ranging between 20掳C and 35掳C.

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