Scientists have revealed that parts of the Amazon emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb. The rainforest is producing over a billion tons of CO2 a year. It used to be a carbon "sink" where CO2 disappeared. It is becoming a source of carbon dioxide. Reasons for this flipping from sink to source are deforestation and forest fires. Researchers predict the rainforest will create CO2 at an accelerating rate in the future. It was once called "the lungs of the world".
Researchers analysed 600 profiles of CO2 emissions produced by fires in the Amazon between 2010 and 2018. The fires produced about 1.5 billion tons of CO2 a year, while the forest removed 0.5 billion tons. The billion-ton difference is the same as the annual emissions of Japan - the world's fifth-largest polluter. A researcher said: "The south-east Amazon sink-to-source story is yet another stark warning that climate impacts are accelerating."