Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

Amazon rainforest fire area: How much of the Amazon Rainforest has burned? | World | News

Shocking images from space of smoke rising from the Amazon rainforest have stunned the world, as fires rage seemingly uncontrollably. Brazil’s President Jair said in a Facebook Live broadcast on Thursday the government lacks the resources to fight wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. In his broadcast on social media, the president said the government is investigating the fires. 

The Amazon rainforest creates more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and is often referred to as “the lungs of the planet”.

Scientists have warned the danger is growing that the forest is degrading into a savannah, severely diminishing its capacity to absorb carbon.

Philip Fearnside, a professor at Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research said: “It’s very important to keep repeating these concerns.

“There are a number of tipping points which are not far away. We can’t see exactly where they are, but we know they are very close.

“It means we have to do things right away. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. There are people denying we even have a problem.”

Read More: Sao Paolo turns BLACK as city swamped in smoke from rainforest fire

How much of the Amazon Rainforest has burned?

The Amazon basin is spread across 72,700,000 square miles, of which 2,100,000 square miles are covered by the rainforest.

An estimated measure calculated by reveals that approximately 640 million acres have been affected by the fire.

Looking at Google’s alert system, the area encompassed by the fire covers more than half of Brazil.

However, the exact figure is unknown and is unlikely to be discovered due to the staggering size and scale of the devastation.

Read More: Amazon rainforest fire: What is being done to stop Amazon fires?

Brazil’s space research centre, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), detected 72,843 fires in the Amazon this year alone, marking an 83 percent surge compared to the same period in 2018.

Scientists are worried the rainforest is approaching an “irreversible tipping point”.

The world would drastically alter if the rainforest were to disappear, affecting everything from farming to the water we drink and the air we breathe.

The Amazon rainforest filters and reprocesses harmful carbon dioxide – through its numerous trees and plants.

Read More: Amazon rainforest fire: Real culprit behind rainforest blazes revealed

These plants absorb carbon dioxide and output oxygen into the atmosphere while maintaining the carbon which helps them to grow.

According to the WWF: “Without tropical rainforests, the greenhouse effect would likely be even more pronounced, and climate change may possibly get even worse in the future.”

Rainforests also help to control local and regional climates, exchanging large amounts of water and energy with the atmosphere.

Water is released by forest plants into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration (evaporation and plant transpiration) and to the ocean by the rivers, influences world climate and the circulation of ocean currents.

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