MANAUS, Brazil, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Brazil has begun construction on a massive steel tower that will rise more than 1,000 feet above the canopy of the Brazilian rainforest near the banks of the Amazon.
The observation tower will enable scientists to collect data on greenhouse gases and observe the interaction between the rainforest, river and the changing climate.
A collaboration between Brazilian and German scientists, the observation tower is positioned in one of the most remote regions on Earth. The tower is being built with steel sourced from the nearest city, Manaus, which lies more than 100 miles to the south.
"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," Jurgen Kesselmeier told the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. Kesselmeier is project manager for the German contingent.
One of the densest regions of forest on earth, and accounting for more than half of all the Earth's rainforest, the Amazon serves an essential role as climate cooling agent -- absorbing carbon-dioxide and replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen.
But scientist worry those cooling capabilities are being quickly diminished as the forest is increasingly under threat from development and logging interests.
"The tower will help us answer innumerable questions related to global climate change," said Paulo Artaxo, a researcher at the University of Sao Paulo and coordinator for the Brazilian contingent.
A similar tower was built in 2006 in Siberia, one of the few places on Earth rivaling the remoteness and expansiveness of the Amazonian rainforest.