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Searching the Amazon for Climate Change Clues

Source:  Bay Area News Group & Dan Hawkes

Kolby Jardine works with colleagues to characterize specific volatile organic compounds emitted from leaves, flowers, and fruits in a hybrid African-American oil palm plantation near Belem, Brazil. (Courtesy Kolby Jardine)

An article written by Jeremy Thomas for the Bay Area News Group (which includes the San Jose Mercury News and Oakland Tribune) recently reported on the work being done as part of DOE’s Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment. By peering deeply into the Amazon, which has experienced two "megadroughts" in the past decade, scientists may be able to better predict the impact of climate change globally, and also collect clues about how California's vegetation might be affected by drought in the coming years, such as if and when trees might start dying off en masse.

Using mass spectrometers and other sensors from 150-foot towers high above the forest canopy, Berkeley Lab-EES scientists Kolby Jardine, Jeff Chambers, Laura Keuppers, and other U.S. researchers, along with a group of Brazilian scientists, are measuring emissions from the Amazon forest. Plants emit smells (compounds) that can prevent stress, protect the canopy from extreme heat, and also play an important role in cloud formation and precipitation.

To read more, go to:

and the Contra Costa Times: