SARATOGA SPRINGS — A Skidmore College faculty member and recent Skidmore graduate have collaborated with 28 scientists from across the globe to publish the first study to suggest that the Amazon rainforest is most likely having a net warming effect on global climate.
Lead author Kris Covey, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences at Skidmore, and 2020 Skidmore graduate Zoe Pagliaro have co-authored the study “Carbon and Beyond: The biogeochemistry of climate in a rapidly changing Amazon” which was published March 11 in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change.
Covey and Pagliaro attended the National Geographic Society’s special convening of 30 scientists in Manaus, Brazil in July 2019, from which this paper resulted. Pagliaro was the only undergraduate student to attend, and played a key role in compiling into a single table the majority of studies that have explored forest biophysical climate feedbacks in the Amazon over the past 10 years. The table was used to seed discussions among the scientists for this first-of-its-kind assessment of the Amazon rainforest’s cumulative climate impact.
The study is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the myriad human and natural causes that contribute to the Amazon’s complex interactions with climate.
The findings have already received national and international attention in outlets including Fast Company and National Geographic and by environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg.