The Amazon rainforest is so densely forested that
it is responsible for providing 20% of the Earth's
oxygen. So indeed, the local atmosphere is
oxygen-rich there compared to further away parts
of the world. The deforestation of this part of
the world has several exacerbating effects on
global climate change.
When trees are burned, much of the carbon that
they stored in their wood and leaves will be
released into the atmosphere, primarily in the
form of the greenhouse gas, CO2. The
produces ash and char, which is black. The ash
from rainforest destruction travels with the
winds, circling the globe and depositing
everywhere. This reduces the overall reflectance
(albedo) of the earth, especially in snowy areas
like the poles. Reduced albedo enhances warming
effects because more sunlight is absorbed and less
reflected. It's a feedback loop because warming
also melts snow, which further reduces albedo.
Finally, because the forests are no longer growing
after destruction, their future potential to fix
carbon from the atmosphere is obliterated.
Scientists found that the air masses that
traveled over the rainforest absorbed a lot of
moisture. The more vegetation they travel over,
the more moisture they absorb, which is then
carried away from the rainforest and precipitates
elsewhere. As deforestation occurs, the
surrounding areas will receive less rain and
become drier climates.
Plants transpire (evaporate) water as part of the
way they draw nutrients out of the soil. This
evaporation increases the humidity as the trees
store water and then release it. That water rises
up as vapor, forms clouds, and then rains back
down to Earth, completing the cycle as it is taken
up by another plant. In the Amazon, this has the
effect of greatly increasing the amount of
rainfall that the region experiences, because the
trees are constantly recycling water into the
atmosphere and then down to the ground again.
Were the forest not there, the water would just
flow into the river and then out to sea, and the
total amount of rainfall would decrease
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