As El Niño amps up the effects of global warming, every corner of the earth is starting to swelter. Now, the Amazon rainforest and the rivers that feed it are taking the brunt of this year’s brutal weather. Here’s how an extended drought is setting disastrous climate records.
Hotbed of Hope
The Amazonian rainforest is home to some of the most amazing species of animals and plants on the entire planet.
And scientists have held out hopes for decades that undiscovered secrets there might benefit humanity for generations to come.
Amazon Not Immune
But as temperatures around the globe have rocketed to record levels in 2023, the Amazon basin has found itself warming up with the rest of the planet.
Paradise Drying Up
And, even more disastrous than oppressive heat for the rainforest is the months-long drought that has started to drain the region of its vital moisture and humidity.
According to a report from CNN, the ongoing drought is even starting to drain the massive rivers that make life possible in the Amazon.
Never Been Worse
On October 16, reports CNN, the water levels at the confluence of the Amazon River and Rio Negro dropped to an all-time low of about 45 feet.
A Long Time Coming
That’s a drop of about 13 feet from this time last year, and it surpasses the previous low-water mark set in 2010.
Scientists have been recording water levels in the area since way back in 1902.
A Critical Milepost
The port city of Manaus sits at the junction of these two rivers, and it’s the most populated metropolis in the entire region.
It’s also a vital way station for moving food and other supplies to populations throughout the Amazon.
Coughing and Choking
But with the water receding all through the course of the drought that has now stretched to three months, Manaus is becoming more of a choking point.
Boats and Animals Stranded
Not only have boats carrying supplies and passengers been stranded on the suddenly exposed river bottom, but rising water temperatures are starting to take a toll on local wildlife.
Dolphins Are Overheating
With some pockets of the rivers reaching 102 degrees Fahrenheit, CNN reports that more than 100 endangered river dolphins have died because of the scorching waters.
Just the Beginning?
And now the worry is that this once-in-a-century phenomenon may actually be just the start of the troubles for the Amazon.
Bad Boy El Niño
Much of the blame for the climbing temperatures has been laid at the feet of the global warming phenomenon.
But an El Niño system has also disrupted normal Pacific Ocean flow patterns and changed the distribution of atmospheric moisture.
No End in Sight
With El Niño not expected to peak until sometime in December, that could mean the Amazon drought will stretch out for a few more weeks before there’s any relief.
Outlook Is Gloomy
And given the havoc that the already record-low water levels and record-high temperatures are causing, the outlook is gloomy for both the people and environment of the region.
Too Much Ground to Cover
Several Brazilian nonprofit organizations are working overtime to try and deliver some measure of relief to affected residents, but the areas to cover are vast and isolated.
An Uncertain Future
And everyone is feeling antsy about the future, at least over the next couple of months.
Isolated and Afraid
As one local man told CNN, “It’s not very good for us, because we’re practically isolated.”
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The post Apocalypse Now – Global Warming Drains Amazon, Boils Dolphins Alive first appeared on Career Step Up
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Piyaset. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.