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Why the tallest structure in LatAm is in the remote Amazon

Secondary Categories: BrazilFeature

Forget the skyscrapers of Sao Paulo, Santiago and Buenos Aires, the tallest man-made structure on the South America continent is situated in the remote Amazon rain-forest, over 100 miles from the Brazilian town of Manaus.

Admittedly there are no offices or apartments in the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO). Instead it was built for purely scientific purposes as a joint venture between the Max Planck Institute  and the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia.

The ATTO Tower

The 325-metre (1066 ft.) high tower is equipped with machinery and instruments which will collect data that is designed to enable us to make better decisions about climate change in the future. Its research objectives include:

  1. Collecting data on the influence of the vast, largely untouched rainforest on the climate.

  2. Understanding sources and sinks of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and N2O.

  3. Investigating the formation of aerosols which is important for cloud formation.

  4. Investigating the transport processes of air masses that take place over several hundred kilometres.

The Amazon region is of “global significance: it produces half of the word´s oxygen, impacts the global water cycle through evaporation and stabilizes the earth’s climate.”

Construction on the structure which is taller than the Chrysler Building and the Eiffel Tower has recently been completed and ATTO is set to deliver its first data this month. This data will be compared with that from ZOTTO – a similar tower in the heart of the Siberian steppe.

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