Global forecasts indicate that by 2050, the combined effect of demographic changes (~ 2.5 billion additional people), increased wealth and changes in diet can increase global food demand of 80 to 110%. In addition, growing demand for biofuels may limit the availability of land for agriculture. It is widely expected that a significant portion of this new demand is provided by Brazil, one of the few places on earth with plenty of sun, water and land to allow for a major expansion in agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that agricultural production in Brazil will grow faster than any other country in the world in this decade, increasing by 40% by 2019.
We therefore have a window of opportunity - probably closing in 2020 - to propose new ways, scientifically sound, sustainable increases in agricultural production in the Amazon. Such strategies, if successfully implemented, have the potential to promote and maintain low or even near zero levels of deforestation in the region for decades to come.
The long-term vision of this research is to generate knowledge to enable sustainable increases in agricultural production in Brazil to meet the global demands of consumption, at the same time that (i) maintain and improve the ability of the environment to conserve biodiversity and maintain essential ecosystem services such as climate regulation and regional carbon stock, and (ii) minimizing environmental impacts of agricultural activities.
In the coming years, we will investigate aspects of large-scale viability of sustainable agriculture in Brazil. We aim to identifing opportunities to increase sustainable agricultural production in the Amazon and Cerrado, categorizing and quantifing the potential impact of continued deforestation of the Amazon in regional climate stability, ecosystem services and conservation efforts. We do this by combining the construction of new databases with simulations of climate and agricultural productivity using climate models and a set of agro-meteorological models of different complexities.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTEGRATED MODEL OF BRAZILIAN LAND SURFACE
Within the national program on climate change, Brazil plans to generate its own climate scenarios and environmental future using its own model based on the global climate system. Our research group is coordinating the development of the superficial component of this model, called the integrated model of land surface of Brazil, which will simulate exchange of energy, mass and momentum between the vegetation and biosphere, dynamics vegetation and surface waters, anthropogenic deforestation, agricultural systems, forest fires and soil fertility. This research is intended primarily to develop, calibrate and test this model, including research on new methods of optimization, parallelization of the code, etc.
DYNAMICS OF ECOSYSTEM
Changes in land use and land cover, and global climate change, lead to the vulnerability of ecosystems, and can affect the composition, distribution and vegetation structure and the functioning of these ecosystems in the next century. This line of research searches through climate modeling simulations associated with dynamic models of global vegetation and field measurements to better understand the dynamics of these ecosystems, especially in the Amazon region.
STUDIES OF THE BIDIRECTIONAL INTERACTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE-BIOSPHERE
The vegetation imitates the climate - interacting in both directions. The rapid changes in land cover on the Brazilian territory have inspired several studies on the effects that changes in land cover have on climate and water resources in the modified regions. On the other hand, past climate changes (glaciation, etc.) and future (global warming) can cause major changes in vegetation cover. This line of research aims to study the bi-directional interaction between the atmosphere and biosphere, with emphasis on the regions of the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado that have been modified more quickly. Most studies of modeling use biosphere-atmosphere coupled models.
This line of research aims at investigating the influence in space and time of climatic fluctuations and vegetation dynamics in hydrological mechanisms. Themes as changes in soil use in water resources using hydrological models coupled to process models surface with atmospheric feedbacks are discussed, as well as use of remote sensing, as well as use of remote sensing of the hydrological cycle and its main applications.
As a particular branch of research in Atmospheric Sciences this line of research aims at study the energy exchange phenomena, mass and movement on the surface-atmosphere, among them, the flows of energy, time, mass, CO2, the balance of surface water, evapotranspiration, that occur on time scales of less than 1 hour along the Planetary Boundary Layer air through observational studies and numerical modeling.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE –CARBON CYCLE
Coupled models carbon / climate, predict significant changes in the global carbon cycle due to global warming. With this line of research, we aim at understanding the effects of increased greenhouse gases, aerosols and vegetation changes in natural biogeochemical cycles, especially in the carbon cycle, which affect the climate system inducing global climate change.