In 2005 and 2010 the Amazon basin experienced two strong droughts, driven by shifts in the tropical hydrological regime possibly associated with global climate change, as predicted by some global models. Tree mortality increased after the 2005 drought, and regional atmospheric inversion modelling showed basin-wide decreases in CO2 uptake in 2010 compared with 2011. But the response of tropical forest carbon cycling to these droughts is not fully understood and there has been no detailed multi-site investigation in situ.