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If Forests Truly Drive Wind And Water Cycles, What Does It Mean For The Climate?

The biotic pump theory has ruffled feathers in the climate science community ever since Anastassia Makarieva and Victor Gorshkov submitted their paper “Where do winds come from?” to the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in 2010 (it was finally published in 2013). It remains a relevant enough topic that some scientists say needs further study and incorporation into potential climate-modeling scenarios.

If true, the theory explains how the interior forests of vast continents influence wind and the water cycles that supply whole nations, and could even help explain phenomena such as the “cold Amazon paradox,” when wind patterns seemingly defy accepted theory to blow the strongest from the warm Atlantic to the colder Amazon. If forests actually drive moisture-laden air currents that govern wind and rain, the upshot is that further forest loss may have unknown and devastating effects on not just the global climate, but also on water supplies.

Anastassia Makarieva joins Mongabay’s podcast to discuss the theory and its implications for future climate modeling with co-host Rachel Donald.

“This high sensitivity in the most sophisticated models describing clouds [could] be a representation of the growing sensitivity to CO2 that is happening due to the continued loss of natural ecosystems, and especially in the tropics, the Amazon, Indonesia and Africa,” Makarieva says.

  • Theoretical physicists Anastassia Makarieva and Viktor Gorshkov developed the controversial “biotic pump” theory more than a decade ago, which challenges traditional climate and hydrological science.
  • The theory posits that forests drive moisture-laden air currents, thereby governing wind and rain and implying that further global forest loss could have unknown effects on weather and water supplies.
  • While yet to be disproven or validated, some scientists say it’s vitally important to study and test this theory, and potentially include it in climate-modeling scenarios.
  • Makarieva joins Mongabay’s podcast to discuss the theory and its implications for future climate modeling with co-host Rachel Donald.

Source: mongabay

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