Forest - Papua Nuova Guinea, credits: Rocky Roe & UPNG Remote Sensing Centre
The results of a study published in Global Change Biology - coordinated by the Technical University of Munich (TUM; Germany) in collaboration with CNR-ISAC - indicate that possibly forests favor the transport of humidity from the sea to the mainland, when the atmosphere is humid. Conversely, when the atmosphere is drier, plant transpiration would reduce the transport of humid sea air masses, thus limiting rainfall.
Anastassia Makarieva (Institute for Advanced Study, TUM, lead author) emphasizes the need for a broad international cooperation in the studies of the ecology of the water cycle: “We have shown that the non-linear precipitation dependence on atmospheric moisture content, first noted by our co-author Dr. Mara Baudena (CNR-ISAC, Italy) and her colleagues, has widely ranging implications. The atmospheric water flows do not recognize international borders, thus deforestation disrupting evapotranspiration in one region could trigger a transition to the drier
regime in another. Our results indicate that natural forests of the Earth, in both high and low latitudes, are our common legacy of pivotal global importance as they support the terrestrial water cycle. Their preservation should become a widely recognized priority for our civilization to solve the global water crisis.”
Makarieva et al. 2023 Global Change Biology https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16644