Tree rings from eight cedar trees in the Bolivian Amazon have provided a natural archive of the region’s rainfall history.
Two different oxygen isotopes trapped in the rings where identified and measured. By looking at the amounts of each, researchers could determine how the rainfall changed each year. This allowed them to see how much it had rained over the past century.
The Amazon is one of the richest ecosystems in the world. It contains about a tenth of the planet’s biodiversity and fifth of the total carbon stored in plant biomass. It is therefore important to better understand the hydrological cycle in the Amazon, as it may significantly alter the speed of global climate change.