Amazon forests shape climate – locally and globally
The Amazon is nearly as large as the United States, and contains over half of all tropical forests on the planet. These forests are home to an estimated one tenth of all plant, animal, and insect species on earth, and they are major drivers of the carbon and water cycles that shape our climate.
Amazon forests absorb and store roughly 15% of all human carbon emissions each year, slowing the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Without them, the globe would be warming even more rapidly.
In addition, these forests produce water vapor that moves around the planet – like a river in the atmosphere – to create rain. Evaporation and shading also air condition the land surface, cooling it by as much as 10°F.