COLUMBIA- Fires plaguing the Amazon could cause a dryer winter season in Misssouri according to an MU atmospheric science professor.
Anthony Lupo said an invisible band of moisture carries water from the rainforest’s trees to hydrate land across the world. But, deforestation threatens weather patterns globally. Lupo has reason to believe the outcome seen in the Midwest will be more long-term, rather than short-term, however.
“Right now, the forest fires that are happening, are happening at the dry time of the year down there, which is fairly normal.”
Lupo said farmers have prescribed burns all the time, it just so happens this year is a bit dryer and the burns escalated. NASA said drought and human activities are causing wildfires. The band of moisture the rainforest creates has more of an immediate effect on the Amazon itself, due to the timing of the disaster. Because harvesting season is already well underway, we will not see big changes to crops in Missouri this season.
“Will the fires lead to a dryer summer next year,” Lupo asked. “That depends on how fast they can get the fires put out and how quickly the forest grows back.”
KOMU 8 News meteorologist Kenton Gewecke described the potential impact as a “gray-area.” He said a certain percentage of deforestation has to occur to truly impact our area, and these numbers will not be broken down until the fires have been put out.
Once the fire is completely under control, experts can determine how much of the forest was devastated and at what rate we will see the forest replenish itself. Short-term, consumers are likely to see higher prices on goods exported from areas affected, as well as shortages of those goods. Mid-Missouri farmers may also not be out of the clear just yet as the damage is ongoing. Should there be an effect on weather patterns next harvesting season, popular Missouri crops like soybeans and corn could fluctuate in pricing.