“We were surprised to see how extremes in the Amazon region correlate with extremes in Tibet,” said Juergen Kurths, co-author of a study by scientists from China, Europe and Israel published this month in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The researchers used data from around the world about the Earth’s surface temperature over the past 40 years. Using this information, they compiled a map of climatic links from South America to southern Africa, and from there to the Middle East and finally Tibet.
Scientists have used computer simulations to map how global warming will determine these long-range correlations to the year 2100.
From this, they discovered that when it is warmer in the Amazon, the temperature also increases in the Tibetan Plateau. On the other hand, when it rains more in the Amazon rainforest, it snows less in the Himalayas, which is also called the “third pole” of the planet because of the amount of fresh water it stores in the form of ice.
Based on the available data on the amount of snow in the region, the study authors say they have seen early signs that, since 2008, Tibet is approaching the point of no return.
The Tibetan Plateau provides much of the water consumed by an estimated two billion people in Asia.
Another article published in Nature Climate Change last year claimed that climate change threatens the water stored in Tibet, putting the supplies of millions of people on the Asian continent at risk.