Climate prediction tools show role of oceans in Amazon drought

8 January 2014

LIMA, Peru (7 January 2014) —  The best place to look for clues about potential drought in the Amazon forests of Peru is on the other side of South America, off the shores of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean, according to scientists.

During the past 10 years, rising sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic have corresponded with lower-than-normal precipitation in the western Amazon, enabling scientists to predict droughts about three months ahead of the July-to-September dry season.

That knowledge can provide enough advance warning for farmers and local government officials to take steps to prevent wildfires and avoid serious damage to forests, property and crops, said scientists working with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

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