Latin America

Such great heighths: Observatory constructed in Amazon

By Agnes Rivera

Construction has already begun for the climate change monitor.

Such great heighths: Observatory constructed in Amazon

(Photo: Wikimedia/ Neil Palmer)

Not to be confused with a new species of flora, the Amazon will soon welcome a 325 meter tall tower. Construction has already begun on what will be a tool to monitor climate change in one of the largest rain forests in the world.

According to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), the tower´s instruments will “gather data on greenhouse gases, aerosol particles and the weather”. The tower´s height will provide otherwise unavailabale information spanning several hundreds of kilometers.

“The measurement point is widely without direct human influence, and therefore ideal to investigate the meaning of the forest region for the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere,” said Jurgen Kesselmeier, one of the project coordinators, as quoted on the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz website.

The steel structure is located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the Amazonian city of Manaus, in northern Brazil. It will connect to a network of smaller towers.

Despite the rainforest´s impressive size that stretches into nine South American countries, the Amazon is also home to one of the most sensitive ecosystems.

“The tower will help us answer innumerable questions related to global climate change,” said Paulo Artaxo, from the University of Sao Paulo and a project coordinator.

Due to factors such as greenhouse gas effects, illegal logging and mining, amongst others, scientists fear for the fragile forest. Although predicted for decades from now, researched believe that severe loss in rainfall and increased temperatures could result in the jungle becoming unsustainable. In 2009 The Guardian reported a “study found that a 4 °C rise in global temperatures by 2100 would kill 85% of the Amazon rainforest while a temperature rise of 3 °C would kill some 75% of the Amazon”.

Other efforts are being made, such as the upcoming COP20 event that will be held in Lima come December.

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