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Researchers have found that La Niña increases carbon exports from the Amazon River

Amazon River in Obidos, Brazil. Researchers examined data obtained in this city near the mouth of the river to find out how the La Niña phenomenon affects the amount of carbon exported from the river. Credit: Chris Linder

When La Niña brings extraordinarily warm water and extraordinary air pressure to the Pacific Ocean, the resulting meteorological patterns cause an increase in carbon exports from the Amazon River, a new study from Florida State University has discovered.


Normally, the Amazon River exports about 10% of the organic carbon dissolved in the world’s rivers to the sea.Studies published in World biogeochemical cycleIndicates that the 2011-2012 La Niña phenomenon added 2.77 teragrams of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) annually to the outflow from the Amazon River. This is equivalent to the amount exported from the Mississippi River in a normal year.

“This is a big problem, because as global temperature and precipitation patterns continue to change, we miss this highly sensitive pool of organic carbon from the Amazon River, which we had not previously considered in any estimates. “It is,” said Martin Kurek, a PhD student who is the lead author of the paper.

Researchers say there is a six-month delay between the increase in precipitation at the Amazon’s headwaters due to the La Niña phenomenon and the increase in DOC exported at sampling stations near the mouth of the Amazon River in Obidos, Brazil. I found. Many of the DOCs are from land sources rather than the typical non-La Niña years, emphasizing the flushing of material from the land associated with increased rainfall due to the La Niña phenomenon.

Dissolved organic carbon is the most important mediator of the world’s carbon cycle. It is important to understand the cycle, as carbon has a role to play on Earth. For example, organic matter exported from the Amazon River is a food source for marine microbes, as well as at the same time. carbon dioxide NS atmosphere, This affects the climate of the earth.

Companion manuscript is also posted World biogeochemical cycle We collected baseline measurements of carbon, nutrients and trace elements. This allows researchers to generate annual flux estimates to determine the seasonality of the largest rivers on the planet.

FSU researchers have discovered that La Niña increases carbon exports from the Amazon River

Rob Spencer, an associate professor of the FSU’s School of Global and Marine Atmospheric Sciences, will take samples on the Amazon River near Obidos, Brazil. Credit: Chris Linder

The task is similar to a doctor taking a blood sample from a patient to get an idea of ​​the patient’s health. This helps researchers emphasize that anomalies such as La Niña are causing atypical conditions.

“We use a fairly similar approach to doctors, but in this case the patient is in the Amazon basin, taking water samples instead of blood samples,” said Head of Biogeochemistry. Rob Spencer said. Of the laboratory conducting the research. “This provides a way to assess Amazon health and identify the impact of human-led factors such as logging, land conversion to agriculture, and climate change. It is important to understand all of this. Setting a baseline. You need to know the typical health of your patient. In this study, we set a baseline and then captured the effects of the La Nina phenomenon. “

Climate change is expected to make precipitation events like La Niña more frequent and more serious. For Spencer and his team, it is to document what is happening in the Amazon basin so that scientists can better understand the impact within the basin and what it means for embracing the Atlantic Ocean. Emphasizes the importance of sustainable data collection.

“I think a lot of people are interested in how the Earth works and how it’s changing,” Spencer said. “If you want to understand how planets are changing, one of the big things you need to know is how fast the Amazon, the main river on Earth, is changing.”

Researchers at Northeastern University, ETH Zurich, Federal University of Western Para, Woodwell Climate Research Center, Oldenberg University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were co-authors of the first study. This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation and the Herberton Foundation.

Researchers at Harvard University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woodwell Climate Research Center, Federal University of Western Para, and the International Atomic Energy Agency were co-authors of baseline measurement studies. TW Drake, a former FSU PhD student, was the lead author.


Unchecked climate change causes severe dryness in Amazon forests


For more information:
Martin R. Kurek et al, Proponent of the Amazon River Organic Molecular Signature, World biogeochemical cycle (2021). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GB006938

Travis W. Drake et al, The Pulse of the Amazon: Fluxes of Dissolved Organic Carbon, Nutrients, and Ions From the World’s Largest River, World biogeochemical cycle (2021). DOI: 10.1029 / 2020GB006895

Quote: Researchers have discovered that La Niña increases carbon exports from the Amazon River (July 29, 2021).

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Researchers have found that La Niña increases carbon exports from the Amazon River

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