For the first time, researchers have developed a model capable of anticipating drought periods in the Amazon up to 18 months in advance. The study was conducted by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in Germany, as part of the Tipping Points in the Earth System (TiPES) project, led by physicist Catrin Ciemer and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The model was developed based on surface temperature analysis of the Atlantic Ocean. The relation between the humidity of the oceans and the rainfall regime in the Amazon is part of the intrinsic functioning of the biomes. Any variation in temperature, as a result of global warming, is enough to trigger a series of consequences. According to physicist and study co-author Niklas Boers, the early-warning system developed by the group is based on a very simple mechanism: “We discovered that every two years the surface temperatures in the north and south tropical Atlantic develop a dipole, a phenomenon that occurs when temperatures increase in one region and decrease in another.” The drought forecast alert is issued when this pattern begins to develop. “The dipole modifies the direction of the trade winds, which take moisture from the Atlantic Ocean to South America. This change of direction is responsible for causing droughts mainly in the center-south of the Amazon,” Boers said. From the model they developed, the researchers were able to trace back six of the seven main drought events that have occurred in the Amazon since…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer