A 1,066-foot tower being built in Brazil is taller than the Chrysler Building in New York City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or any other skyscraper found in South America, but the tower is not being constructed to make a name as one of the world's tallest structures.
The purpose of the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory, which is rising in the Amazon rainforest isolated from human presence, is to monitor the link between the atmosphere and the jungle. It will collect information on cloud formations, weather patterns, heat, water, winds, carbon absorption and the level of greenhouse gases in the Amazon, one of the largest and most important rainforests in the world that produces about 20 percent of the planet's oxygen.
The tower, a joint project of Max Planck Institute in Germany and the National Institute of Amazonian of Brazil, is anticipated to help determine how carbon dioxide fluctuates inside the Amazon rainforest, which is considered among the green lungs of the planet.
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has dramatically risen in recent decades and while the increased concentration of carbon dioxide is widely responsible for the Earth's changing climate, plants need it to grow and the Amazon rainforest is known to lock up vast quantities of the gas inside it.
Scientists want to determine how much carbon dioxide the rainforest absorbs and releases per year as well as learn more about greenhouse gases, which are known to significantly contribute to global warming, and climate change itself.
"The tower will help us answer innumerable questions related to global climate change," a project director from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil said. "We will gain a better understanding of the role of the Amazon and other humid tropical areas in climate models."
Workers construct the tower using steel that were transported by rafts and trucks from southern Brazil thousands of kilometers away from the site about 100 miles away from Brazil's Manaus city. At over 1,000 feet, the height of the tower will allow scientists to investigate movements and changes in areas that span several hundred kilometers.
"The measurement point is widely without direct human influence, and therefore ideal to investigate the meaning of the forest region for the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere," said Jurgen Kesselmeier from the Max Planck Institute.
Once finished, the tower will be integrated into smaller observatory towers that already exist in the region and complement a similar 1,000-foot observatory in Central Siberia that was built in 2006.