- In a report released on Wednesday, the World Weather Attribution announced that the historic drought in the Amazon rainforest in 2023 was caused primarily by climate change and not the El Niño weather pattern.1
- The international group of scientists determined that climate change increased the likelihood of drought by 30 times. The dry conditions affected all nine Amazon rainforest countries by drying up rivers, killing endangered species, and disrupting the critical delivery of supplies to isolated communities.2
- Data showed that the deforestation of the rainforest contributed to a decrease in precipitation that caused a cascading effect of reduced moisture retention in the soil resulting in trees being more vulnerable to wildfire events.3
- Before the report's release, experts believed the drought conditions were largely caused by the El Niño weather pattern because El Niño traditionally brings about drier-than-average conditions. Data gathered between June and November showed that increased temperatures led to much greater levels of evaporation that had a significant impact.4
- In addition to the degrading of environmental conditions, the drought had lasting impacts on Amazonian communities — leaving them with water shortages, reduced crop yields, and reduced production from hydroelectric facilities.5
- Regina Rodrigues, a professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina and a contributor to the World Weather Attribution said, “The Amazon could make or break our fight against climate change.” She went on to say, “If we protect the forest, it will continue to act as the world’s largest land-based carbon sink.”5
- Narrative A, as provided by BBC News. The Amazon rainforest serves as the lungs of our planet. A healthy Amazon equals a healthy world. Human-caused damage is destroying the forest's ability to keep a lid on global temperatures. Fortunately, this new data doesn't appear to be the tipping point, but we are close to an extremely serious situation. If drastic changes aren't made soon there will be no way to turn back.
- Narrative B, as provided by Sustainable Review. Governments with equities in the Amazon rainforest have shown tremendous commitment to saving such a precious resource. During the first quarter of 2023, data shows that deforestation had been reduced by 40%. While the gains are immense and will have a significant impact on the planet and the communities of the Amazon, we must not become complacent. Nations must remain vigilant and continue the fight to uphold and establish new restrictions to restore the Amazon to the great beauty it once was.