Amazon carbon absorption examined by new Anglo-Brazilian network
The network’s main objective is to evaluate the feasibility of remote sensing of greenhouse gas concentrations over Amazonia. This would improve our understanding of the Amazonian carbon cycle and tropical carbon fluxes (the movement of carbon within a system).
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the São Paolo Research Foundation (FAPESP) have awarded £300,000 to the newly created ‘UK/Brazil Research Network for an Amazonian Carbon Observatory’, including a £180,000 grant to Dr Hartmut Boesch, an RCUK Research Fellow in our Department of Physics and Astronomy and a member of our Earth Observation Science Group.
The network also includes investigators from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds, Instituto de Pesquisas Energeticas e Nucleare (IPEN), the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE) and Universidade de São Paulo – and there are other project partners in the UK, USA, France and Germany.
Amazonia is hugely important as a ‘carbon sink’, the rainforest’s absorption of carbon dioxide goes some way to alleviating the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by other sources, both natural and manmade. However, a drought in 2005 turned a significant part of the rainforest into a net producer of carbon, showing that even this huge resource cannot be relied on to ameliorate the problems created by climate change.
The new network will bring together diverse research communities, foster the interaction and exchange of expertise and ideas, and provide a framework for addressing key questions around the Amazonian carbon cycle. The network will be open to all researchers from the UK, Brazil and the greater international research community; a web presence will be launched shortly on the University of Leicester website.