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December 9 2012

Widespread Devastation Found in 2010 Amazon Megadrought

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—A megadrought that struck the Amazon in 2010 devastated millions of hectares of the rainforest, new data presented here suggest. The results shed new light on a scientific debate over the effects of such recent climatic events.

Initial data released today at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union indicate that as many as one in 25 trees died in areas with the most severe water scarcity. The findings also suggest that previous techniques using satellites to measure drought stress in rainforests may be missing dire impacts of a warming global climate, which many scientists believe will cause more droughts in those critical habitats.

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