In 2019, large-scale forest fires occurred frequently in the Amazon rainforest. But researchers expect 2020 to make fires much worse.
In August 2019, the Amazon frequented large-scale fires caused by human fires. In addition to the buzz around the world, the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where smoke covered the sky, became as dark as day and night. But if the Amazon had been hit by drought at the time, the fire would have gotten worse.
That’s the year. In 2020, the Southern Part of the Amazon is expected to be drier than usual. One of the causes is an unusual rise in sea temperature in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean, thousands of kilometers away. The rise in sea temperature is also a record-accelerating the arrival of the hurricane season and is seen as a precursor to an increase in the number of hurricanes this year.
The increase in hurricanes and the drought in the Amazon. “I think the oceans are actually creating both states,” said Chris Lindsey, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “The oceans are making Atlantic hurricanes more active, and at the same time making it easier to fire on the Amazon.”
According to Douglas Morton, a NASA earth scientist who jointly predicts the severity of an Amazon fire every year, the Amazon rainforest in 2020 is in the “worst” situation with fire-prone conditions. This is because of the increase in deforestation in the Amazon overlaps with the patterns of the ocean and atmosphere that lead to drought.
An estimate is that 3066 square kilometers of forests were cut down in the Brazilian Amazon between January and June 2020. That’s a 25 percent year-over-year increase. According to Joss Barlow, an environmental conservation scholar at Lancaster University in the UK, logging is about its peak, and about 15,500 square kilometers of the forest could be carved by the end of this year. If this happens, the pace of deforestation will be the fastest since 2005.
Usually, it’s the landowners who want to open their property and farm and farmland to set fire to the Amazon forest. However, there are many cases where people who try to claim ownership of land newly set fire to public forests.
“It seems to suggest that every condition will be a year of severe deforestation,” Barlow told internetnews.com. “And unlike 2019, fires released for burned fields after logging may gain momentum due to a drier climate than usual.” In other words, once a fire burns faster and becomes difficult to control, and in some cases, it may even ignite into a primeval forest.