A new study, funded by Nasa, has found that the most serious drought in the Amazon for more than a century had little impact on the rainforest's vegetation.
The findings appear to disprove claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could react drastically to even a small reduction in rainfall and could see the trees replaced by tropical grassland.
The new study, conducted by researchers at Boston University and published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, used satellite data of the Amazon rainforest to study the effects of a major drought in 2005 when rainfall fell to the lowest level in living memory.
The drought saw rivers and lakes dry up, causing towns and cities that rely upon water flowing out of the rainforest to suffer severe water shortages.
But the researchers found no major changes in the levels of vegetation and greenery in the forests despite the drought.
Scientists have now spoken out against the 40% figure contained in the IPCC report and say that recent research is suggesting that the rainforest may be more resilient to climate change than had been previously thought.
Dr Jose Marengo, a climate scientist with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research and a member of the IPCC, said the latest study on the Amazon's response to drought highlighted the errors in the previous claims.
Professor Ranga Myneni, from the climate and vegitation research group at Boston University who was the senior researcher in the study, said criticised the IPCC’s claim that a “even a slight reduction in precipitation” would cause drastic changes in the rainforest.
He said: “There was more than a slight reduction in precipitation during the drought of 2005. It is that particular claim of the IPCC that our analysis rejects.”
I would think a major cause of rainforest destruction would be factory farming, which is not mentioned. Nor being prevented as part of the move to the global carbon market.