The Brazilian Amazon is going up in smoke as a record number of fires have hit the rainforest. The “lungs of the world” is currently experiencing the most intense blazes for almost a decade, with official figures showing more than 75,000 forest fires have occurred in Brazil so far in 2019. This is the highest number since 2013 and compares with less than 40,000 in the same period in 2018.
Is it raining in the Amazon rainforest?
The Amazon rainforest is currently in its annual dry season, which lasts from July to November.
However, weather maps show it is raining in some areas of the Amazon right now.
The environment is pretty wet in tropical rainforests, maintaining a high humidity of 77 percent to 88 percent year-round.
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The yearly rainfall ranges from 80 to 400 inches (200 to 1,000cm).
Most of this rain, which can get very heavy, runs through the Amazon’s rainy season roughly from mid-December to mid-May.
But the Amazon is a massive forest, meaning its climate varies depending on what area.
It rains far less in central Amazonia than in the Peruvian Amazon or at the eastern Amazon of Brazil.
However, the rainforest has been hit hard by climate change, experiencing the worst drought in 100 years in 2005.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the combination of climate change and deforestation increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.
One of the main reasons the Amazon has seen record fires this year, is due to deforestation.
Thousands of acres have been burned and destroyed by the numerous wildfires sweeping Brazil.
Wildfires are common in the Amazon’s dry season, but this year has seen record numbers of raging blazes in the region.
Fires are deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.
Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80 percent of current deforestation rates.
Amazon Brazil is home to approximately 200 million head of cattle, and is the largest exporter in the world, supplying about one-quarter of the global market.
Some conservationist have blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the forest fires, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.