The photos captured by NASA show that the devastating fires of the Amazon rainforest are visible from afar.
While NASA said "it's not unusual" to see fires in Brazil at this time of year "due to high temperatures and low humidity", the new satellite images show the worrying extent of the flames – and experts say that the effects could be felt on a global scale.
Each red dot in the photo represents a fire or "thermal anomalies," according to NASA's EOSDIS (Earth Observation System Earth Observation System) application, which displays a snapshot of each day. When a user moves the application tool in August, several states in South America become more and more red.
Citing the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) of Brazil, CNN reported that there were 72,843 fires in Brazil this year (more than half of them in the Amazon), and satellite imagery spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the county – mainly in the Amazon Basin – since Thursday.
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The Amazon covers eight countries and is often called "the lungs of the planet" because it produces 20% of the Earth's oxygen. The fire attack threatens the wildlife and oxygen of the Earth during the disaster, which experts say will be felt around the world, including in the US Midwest, as weather conditions change.
"The Amazon is definitely a meteorological engine," said NBC Meg Symington, senior director of the Amazon World Wildlife Fund in the United States.
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"It is well known that weather conditions affect rainfall in the breadbasket of South America," she added, "but it is also proven that this affects the attic in the middle of the United States." .
Fires could potentially have a lasting effect on precipitation, which could destabilize Midwestern ecosystems and threaten food production.
Citing a 2014 study of Nature Climate change Journal, NBC, said that "complete deforestation in the Amazon would reduce rainfall in the US Midwest and parts of the south during the agricultural season." The study also concluded that 40% of deforestation would have the capacity to reduce rainfall to more than 300 km.
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Even more worrying? There is a so-called tipping point about the amount of deforestation that the rainforest can take before the ecosystem turns around and replaces the forest with a savannah. The 2014 study indicated that the tipping point was about 30 to 50% deforestation. However, a study conducted in 2018 by Progress of science According to the newspaper, the tipping point is between 20 and 25 percent, reported NBC.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, about 17% of the Amazon has already been lost, which brings it dangerously close to the potential tipping point.
Several environmentalists have stated that livestock farmers and farmers have deliberately lit the current fires to clear the land for their own use. If fires and deforestation continue to be under control, experts say the tipping point could be reached in just five years.
"The Amazon is so important – a crucial part of the world – not just for animals and plants and the people who live there," Symington told NBC. "It's a crisis."