In DepthAtmospheric Physics

A pristine Amazon's last stand

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Science  06 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6226, pp. 1051-1052
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6226.1051

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A German-Brazilian team has just put the finishing touches on the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory, a $9.4 million structure taller than the Eiffel Tower that will allow scientists to sample air as close to pristine as any found on Earth: For the most part, the only air that reaches the tower travels from the Atlantic Ocean over 1500 kilometers of undisturbed rainforest. The tower should yield insights into how the rainforest shapes its own weather and influences the global carbon cycle. Meanwhile a sister project, called GoAmazon2014/5, has been using aircraft and ground stations to monitor a major threat to that unspoiled air: the pollution plume from Manaus, a metropolis of 2 million in the heart of the Amazon.