In a glaring exposure, the scientists have found that the forests of Congo River basin in central Africa is losing its greenery due to years of drier conditions.
Average rainfall in the region has been declining for several decades. Scientists say this may not be a consequence of climate change but a part of a natural cycle.
According to the researchers, the aridity is affecting trees in the region’s vast rain forests to the extent that the capacity of the trees to photosynthesize had declined.
Scientists are concerned that if the trend continues, this could bring major changes in the structure and composition of the forests.
The situation may be more threatening as the weather conditions may transform the classic rain forest to a savanna-like environment.
Lead researcher Liming Zhou, of the University at Albany, has also underlined that the study had used only data from remote-sensing satellites and their authenticity need to be confirmed with practical field work. Determine of changes like whether trees are actually dying from the drought, which the satellite data did not show, need to be examined.
“This is just a very first step,” Dr. Zhou said.
Scientists warn of worse climatic conditions as many models of climate change project that periods of drought will increase in the tropics, which is home to most of the world’s rain forests.
The study is published in the journal Nature.