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Mon Jun 22, 2020, 07:10 PM

A controversial Russian theory claims forests don't just make rain--they make wind




By Fred PearceJun. 18, 2020 , 12:00 PM

Every summer, as the days get long, Anastassia Makarieva leaves her lab in St. Petersburg for a vacation in the vast forests of northern Russia. The nuclear physicist camps on the shores of the White Sea, amid spruce and pine, and kayaks along the region’s wide rivers, taking notes on nature and the weather. “The forests are a big part of my inner life,” she says. In the 25 years she has made her annual pilgrimage north, they have become a big part of her professional life, too.

For more than a decade, Makarieva has championed a theory, developed with Victor Gorshkov, her mentor and colleague at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PNPI), on how Russia’s boreal forests, the largest expanse of trees on Earth, regulate the climate of northern Asia. It is simple physics with far-reaching consequences, describing how water vapor exhaled by trees drives winds: winds that cross the continent, taking moist air from Europe, through Siberia, and on into Mongolia and China; winds that deliver rains that keep the giant rivers of eastern Siberia flowing; winds that water China’s northern plain, the breadbasket of the most populous nation on Earth.

With their ability to soak up carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, the world’s great forests are often referred to as the planet’s lungs. But Makarieva and Gorshkov, who died last year, say they are its beating heart, too. “Forests are complex self-sustaining rainmaking systems, and the major driver of atmospheric circulation on Earth,” Makarieva says. They recycle vast amounts of moisture into the air and, in the process, also whip up winds that pump that water around the world. The first part of that idea—forests as rainmakers—originated with other scientists and is increasingly appreciated by water resource managers in a world of rampant deforestation. But the second part, a theory Makarieva calls the biotic pump, is far more controversial.

The theoretical foundation of the work has been published, albeit in lesser known journals, and Makarieva has received support from a small coterie of colleagues. But the biotic pump has faced a head wind of criticism, especially from climate modelers, some of whom say its effects are negligible and dismiss the idea completely. The dispute has made Makarieva an outsider: a theoretical physicist in a world of modelers, a Russian in a field led by Western scientists, and a woman in a field dominated by men.

More:
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/controversial-russian-theory-claims-forests-don-t-just-make-rain-they-make-wind

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Reply A controversial Russian theory claims forests don't just make rain--they make wind (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 22 OP
soothsayer Jun 22 #1
Phoenix61 Jun 22 #2
yonder Jun 22 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 07:13 PM

1. Very interesting

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 07:31 PM

2. Hurricane Michael took out 75% of our trees.

The weather is definitely different. Drier and windier. There’s nothing to block the gulf breeze or catch the moisture.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 07:32 PM

3. K&R

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