31 Oct '17, 2pm

The Amazon Makes its Own Wet Season

Scientists have known for some time that transpiration—the process by which plants and trees release moisture to the atmosphere—contributes much of the water that falls back down on the Amazon rainforest in its “wet season.” But that moisture led to a chicken-or-egg question : does transpiration amplify the rainy season or does it start it? New evidence from models and sensors, including a NASA satellite, suggests that the trees essentially make their own rainy season, at least in the southern portion of the rainforest. In the new study , scientists analyzed water vapor data to show that at the end of the dry season, the clouds that build over the southern Amazon are formed from water rising from the forest itself. This moisture from the trees primes a natural atmospheric pump, creating enough instability and providing enough water to develop the persistent rain patterns o...

Full article: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=91161&...

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