Environmental scientists have revealed shocking news that parts of the Amazon rainforest are emitting more carbon dioxide than they are absorbing. The scientists said the forest is now producing over a billion tons of CO2 a year. They say the Amazon used to be a carbon "sink". This is where CO2 was sucked up and converted into oxygen. However, it has now become a source of carbon dioxide. The forest is at risk of losing its moniker of being the lungs of the world. Researchers are predicting the rainforest will create more CO2 at an accelerating rate in the future. The biggest culprits for the Amazon's flipping from sink to source are logging, deforestation and a growing number of forest fires.
The research on the Amazon's CO2 emissions has been published in the journal "Nature". Researchers analysed 600 profiles of CO2 and carbon monoxide emissions produced by fires at various sites in Brazil's Amazon between 2010 and 2018. They found that the fires produced about 1.5 billion tons of CO2 a year, while forest growth removed just 0.5 billion tons. The researchers said the difference of one billion tons left in the atmosphere is equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan, which is the world's fifth-largest polluter. Professor Simon Lewis, from University College London, said: "The south-east Amazon sink-to-source story is yet another stark warning that climate impacts are accelerating."