06 Sep '12, 12am

Amazon deforestation could trigger drop in rainfall across South America

Amazon deforestation could trigger drop in rainfall across South America

Effect of deforestation on rainfall in the tropics. (a) Much of the rainfall over tropical forests comes from water vapour that is carried by the atmosphere from elsewhere. But a large component is ‘recycled’ rain — water that is pumped by trees from soil into the atmosphere through a process called evapotranspiration. Water exits from forests either as run-off into streams and rivers, or as evapotranspirated vapour that is carried away by the atmosphere. The atmospheric transport of water vapor into the forest is balanced by the exit of water in the form of vapor and run-off. (b) Spracklen and colleagues' analysis suggests that deforestation reduces evapotranspiration and so inhibits water recycling. This decreases the amount of moisture carried away by the atmosphere, reducing rainfall in regions to which the moisture is transported. Decreasing evapotranspiration may als...

Full article: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0905-effects-of-deforestati...

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