Reading the ruins of Amazon fires, scientists see crisis ahead

(Context, 18 Mar 2024) Smoke signals from Amazon raise fears of global tipping point on climate change.

The Amazon is battling record early-year fires, fuelling fears of a worse climate crisis to come as blazes kill vegetation that is key to absorbing planet-warming carbon dioxide.

Fanned by drought, high winds and human felling, the forest is suffering unprecedented fires this early in the year, satellite images show, with the dry season still to reach critical parts of the Amazon.

"Traditional as well as scientific knowledge point to dire times ahead," said Sinea do Vale of the Indigenous Council of Roraima, the Brazilian state worst hit by February's unprecedented blazes.

"If emissions do not drop drastically, we will keep suffering," do Vale told Context.

Fire is currently concentrated in the northern Amazon, satellite data shows, with Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela registering a record number of blazes in February, according to data gathered this century by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

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Context, 18 Mar 2024: Reading the ruins of Amazon fires, scientists see crisis ahead