February 3, 2023: Temperatures rise in Tibet when it gets warmer in the Amazon. Continue reading to know more!
Scientists have declared that extreme climatic conditions or declining climatic health in the Amazon rainforest may impact those in the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayan region is crucial for providing water to millions of people and it has edged even closer to a potentially dangerous tipping point.
The researchers used global near-surface temperature data over the last 40 years to map out a pathway of climate links. They stretched from South America to Southern Africa, on to the Middle East and finally into the Tibetan Plateau.
The Tibetan Plateau is a crucial source of water to almost two billion people across South Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Tropical forests in the Amazon basin can get submerged in water if the melting polar ice sheets cause a rise in sea levels.
Chinese, European and Israeli scientists have concluded that earlier this month the changes linked to the declining climate health of the Amazon basin has had impacts on the Tibetan Plateau almost 20,000 km or 12,500 miles away. This is how strongly these climate extremes can interconnect two regions.
Temperatures rise in Tibet when it gets warmer in the Amazon and snowfall decreases in the Himalayan region when rainfall increases in the Amazon.
They collected the early warning calls based on the amount of snowfall that the Tibetan plateau received to conclude that the latter was losing its climatic stability and has been approaching a tipping point since 2008.
More than one third of the South American rainforest may have already been degraded due to anthropogenic activities and severe droughts.
Jingfang Fan from Beijing Normal University, China and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany, has explained how anthropogenic activities like logging and road construction, leading to global warming, have negatively contributed towards Amazon's health, and will likely put more stress on one of the largest ecosystems on Earth even in future.
However, the burning question right now is how such changes in this region could affect the entire world as scientists can now properly identify these teleconnections between areas interlinked over long distances. Scientists considered a grid comprising more than 65 sub-regions, known as nodes, and studied the near-surface area temperature changes over such areas using data from the past 40 years. Using this study, they studied how changes at one node can influence those at another.
In the next step, the researchers used modernistic simulations on a computer to see how greenhouse gas emissions caused due to burning fossil fuels, ultimately leading to global warming, can affect these nodes until 2100. This was how they discovered the strong climatic connections that the Amazon rainforest holds with the Tibetan Plateau. They discovered a positive correlation between the two areas.
The issue has been long overlooked due to negligence. However, the risks can be minimised by rapidly reducing our consumption of fossil fuels that can lead to a decline in greenhouse gas emissions, and by coming up with environmentally friendly solutions to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
An action is needed immediately involving treaties and cooperation between several countries to protect the critically important ecosystem that provides us with crucial natural resources like oxygen, water, food, timber and livelihood to millions of people.