Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday October 29th, 2022/ Main Topic: Another Reason Why Forests Are Essential to Protect Our Climate

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of recently reported ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Another Reason Why Forests Are Essential to Protect Our Climate

Dear Diary. For environmentalists, today’s topic is a no brainer. When large pristine forests get logged or destroyed in other ways, the ensuing climate is drier and hotter. Forests are essential for helping to complete the water cycle. They aid rainfall that supports everything, included any human settlements, within their sphere of influence.

I’ve often stated on this blog that if the Amazon rainforest is destroyed, it will be game over for our climate. It is vitally important that Brazil and surrounding countries protect what remains so that the forest is a net sync of carbon and not a net emitter. Many experts are trying to determine if that tipping point has been crossed and if not, what amount of acreage needs to remain to keep the current climate across South America and the world whole.

So today I’m presenting yet one more new scientific study pointing to the fact that all of us tree huggers have been correct for decades:


OCTOBER 28, 2022

Study finds that forest protection is key for reliable rainfall

by Wageningen University

Air circulation between (a) the ocean and a hot and dry land and (b) the ocean and a cool and moist land. The ocean and the forest have higher evaporation rates (thick blue arrows) than the dryland (thin blue arrows). Credit: Heliyon (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11173

There won’t be many places in the world that have escaped the recent impacts of unusual droughts, floods and unseasonal temperatures. These are often ascribed to the role of greenhouse gases, leading to climate change. But there are additional causes. An international research team has found an additional threat: the impacts of changes in vegetation cover, especially forest loss.

For many parts of the world rainfall depends on what happens to land and water in distant countries. For example, a molecule of moisture that enters Europe from the Atlantic Ocean, may fall as snow or rain and be reevaporated to the atmosphere several times, before it reaches a rainfed field in Central Asia or China.

A new study, recently published in Heliyon, aimed to identify the vulnerability of the atmospheric circulation processes—the drivers of “winds”—that maintain inland rainfall. Temperature and humidity are key and both heavily influenced by a region’s vegetation cover.

Rainfall sustained by suitable vegetation

The key finding is that high temperatures, and lack of suitable vegetation and resulting atmospheric moisture, can block the processes that sustain rainfall over land. In contrast, sufficient moisture being returned to the atmosphere sustains these processes and makes them more resilient.

The research team compared their theoretical predictions against several areas in the Northern Hemisphere, including Western Europe, North America and China. They indicate that current conditions are already close to the threshold where rainfall becomes unstable. The research explains the apparent instability in the systems, leading to droughts and floods.

Large-scale threats require large-scale solutions

The work underlines that forest loss, wetland drainage and other land use changes exacerbates these threats, while conserving and regenerating forests and wetlands reduces them. Furthermore, the results emphasize that these large-scale threats require large-scale solutions that recognize the interconnection that flow across national borders and continents.

The international research led by Dr. Anastassia Makarieva at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, developed the fundamental ideas this research is based upon. The team identified a threshold in terms of temperatures and atmospheric moisture where the processes that maintain the dominant wind patterns cease—something the authors note is already seen in some recent European summers.

Conserve forests and wetlands

Dr. Anastassia Makarieva emphasizes that Russia’s forests have an particularly important role for the Eurasian continent: “The region has been becoming progressively drier, suffering increasingly erratic wind and rain. One important solution is to protect and recover the region’s vast northern forests.”

Professor Douglas Sheil from Wageningen University & Research, a co-author on this study, says he is alarmed by the findings: “Our research shows that we are close to major disruption of the processes that keep much of the world green, pleasant and habitable.”

Douglas notes that while the study is technical, the results and implications are profound.

“The conservationist in me is unsurprised that we have yet more evidence that we disrupt the natural work at our peril,” he says.

“But there is also a positive message: we need nature, and we can defend it and achieve many other benefits at the same time. This study is about the reliable rain that we all depend on. But the solution is to maintain and regain forests and wetlands, that also protect biodiversity, store carbon, and provide many other vital goods and services.”

Explore further:

We looked at 35 years of rainfall and learned how droughts start in the Murray-Darling Basin

More information: Anastassia M. Makarieva et al, Vegetation impact on atmospheric moisture transport under increasing land-ocean temperature contrasts, Heliyon (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11173

Journal information: Heliyon 

Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:

Some additional September 2022 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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