Rainforests: Amazon Rainforest and Rainfall Essay

Submitted By funnygirl12
Words: 1007
Pages: 5

John Smith
GEO 101
Tuesday, November 20
Loss of Rainforests

Tropical rainforests play a vital role in the planet's natural systems. Current studies are showing that there is a vital relationship between the rainforests and rainfall. The forests regulate climate and weather through their absorption. They act like a sponge while recreating rain and exchanging natural gases in the air. For example, the Amazon rainforest creates 50 to 80 percent of its own rainfall through transpiration. It is surprising that people are actually cutting down these important forests in our eco system. Cutting the rainforests changes and affects global weather by changing wind and ocean current patterns and rainfall. If the forests continue to be destroyed, global weather patterns may become more unstable and extreme. More and more studies are all leading to the same conclusion. We need our rainforests. A study carried out by researchers from the University of Leeds discovered that air that passes over tropical forests produces at least twice as much rain than tropical land, especially the areas with little vegetation and plant growth. Also, the impact of the air moisture from tropical forests was not just local, but it has increased rainfall that happens thousands of kilometers away from the forests themselves. Using their current data, predictions and deforestation models, this study suggests that rainfall in the Amazon basin might be reduced to 20 percent by 2050 during the dry seasons. They also predict that reduced rainfall will occur in other tropical areas as forests are reduced, such as the Congo. This study shows that the impact could be devastating both to the forests themselves as well as the millions of people who now live in the areas of tropical forests. Reduced rainfall could fail agricultural businesses and areas completely, resulting in huge economic loss, increased poverty, and a real potential of starvation. Additionally, this reduced rainfall could impact the survival of plants that are a valuable food or healing source. All the animal species that are dependent on them will suffer a decrease in their food supply. So the living organisms in these forests will cease to exist. It is not hard to imagine that 20 percent less water during the dry season could lead towards extinction for plants and animals alike. If we predict that this reduced rainfall does result in the extinction of a tree or animal species, it could lead to devastating impacts for many other species. It will create the classic “domino affect”. The extinction of a single rare species in the Amazon is not a single event. Instead, it would impact literally hundreds of other plant, animal, fungal, and microbial species that rely on it for their own survival. That is quite a huge impact. As previously discussed, tropical rainforests play a vital role in local climate as well because of their relationship with water cycles. However, rainforests also have a significant effect on global weather. Rainforests, like all forms of vegetation, affects a surface by absorbing more heat than bare soil. As a result, this warm air carries moisture from forest trees into the atmosphere, where it condenses as rain. In other words, tropical forests cool local climate and help generate rainfall. Thus, the loss of forest vegetative cover means less heat absorption, which means less moisture being taken up into the atmosphere. In the long run, these changes explain why deforested regions may experience a decline in rainfall. Tropical deforestation can also affect weather in other parts of the world. A 2005 study by NASA found that deforestation in the Amazon region of South America influences rainfall from Mexico to Texas and in the Gulf of Mexico. Forest loss in Central Africa also affects the rainfall patterns in the Midwest. Similarly, deforestation in Southeast Asia was found to impact rainfall in China and the Balkan Peninsula. So our rainforests have a global