Amazon field project to study human impacts on rainforest, climate

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The Amazon Basin in South America includes the most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest on the planet, covering 5.5 million square kilometers. Due to the sheer size of the Amazon rainforest, the area has a strong impact on the climate in the Southern Hemisphere and is a primary driver of global atmospheric circulation.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have opened a new two-year field study of the Amazon Basin to study and model tropical climate processes within a systems context. Led by scientists from Harvard University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, more than 100 researchers from the United States, Brazil, and Germany are involved in the field and modeling experiments based in Manaus, Brazil.

Scot T. Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), will provide scientific leadership for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility located in Manacapuru, Brazil.

Data obtained during the Green Ocean Amazon, or GOAmazon, field campaign will enable scientists to study the intricacies of the natural state of the Amazon rainforest atmosphere and land systems, and how these may be perturbed by human influences such as pollution and deforestation.