Amazonian forests face intensifying threats from climate change and human disturbance, and the prospect of near-future large-scale forest ‘dieback’, i.e. the rapid collapse in above-ground biomass and/or a loss in the capacity of forests to recover, as the Amazon forest approaches a climate tipping point. Such a dieback would limit the world’s ability to mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity and support sustainable development.
The objective of this presentation is to review the evidence for such a tipping point from an Earth System Modelling perspective. I will first give an overview of modelling methodologies, giving a historical perspective on advances in modelling capabilities and their projections for the Amazon forest from the original works from the turn of the century to the current state-of-the-art results as reported in the IPCC six assessment report.
Here I show how model capability has improved to include forest demography, plant hydraulics and mechanistic representations of fire disturbance, air pollution impacts, and consider land-use change. I will finish by highlighting remaining uncertainties and propose how these can be addressed with integrated and targeted data-model efforts.
tipping point, climate change, Earth System Models, Amazon dieback