Nature Research, Communications Earth & Environment, 1(2), 2021
AbstractLand use change and deforestation can influence local temperature and climate. Here we use a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to assess the impact of savannization of the Amazon Basin on the wet-bulb globe temperature heat stress index under two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). We find that heat stress exposure due to deforestation was comparable to the effect of climate change under RCP8.5. Our findings suggest that heat stress index could exceed the human adaptation limit by 2100 under the combined effects of Amazon savannization and climate change. Moreover, we find that risk of heat stress exposure was highest in Northern Brazil and among the most socially vulnerable. We suggest that by 2100, savannization of the Amazon will lead to more than 11 million people will be exposed heat stress that poses an extreme risk to human health under a high emission scenario.