Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nasa Data Shows Deforestation Affects Climate In The Amazon

14.06.2004


NASA satellite data are giving scientists insight into how large-scale deforestation in the Amazon Basin in South America is affecting regional climate. Researchers found during the Amazon dry season last August, there was a distinct pattern of higher rainfall and warmer temperatures over deforested regions.


LOOKING AT DEFORESTATION BY SATELLITE

This black and white image was created from the visible channel of the Geosynchronous Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES). Deforestated areas are depicted in gray and white shading over Rondonia, Brazil. The lighter shaded area around Porto Velho is a naturally occurring region of savanna and the urban area. CREDIT: NASA & NOAA


COMPARING THE SIZE OF RONDONIA’S DEFORESTATION TO FLORIDA

This GOES image superimposed over the outline of the state of Florida makes it easier to understand how much land (in gray and white) in Rondonia, Brazil has been deforested. CREDIT: NASA & NOAA



Researchers analyzed multiple years of data from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). They also used data from the Department of Defense Special Sensor Microwave Imager and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.

The study appeared in a recent issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate. Lead authors, Andrew Negri and Robert Adler, are research meteorologists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md. Other authors include Liming Xu, formerly of the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Jason Surratt, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.


"In deforested areas, the land heats up faster and reaches a higher temperature, leading to localized upward motions that enhance the formation of clouds and ultimately produce more rainfall," Negri said.

The researchers caution the rainfall increases were most pronounced in August, during the transition from dry to wet seasons. In this transition period, the effects of land cover, such as evaporation, are not overwhelmed by large-scale weather disturbances that are common during the rest of the year. While the study, based on satellite data analysis, focused on climate changes in the deforested areas, large increases in cloud cover and rainfall were also observed in the naturally un-forested savanna region and surrounding the urban area of Port Velho, Brazil, particularly in August and September.

Recent studies by Dr. Marshall Shepherd cited similar findings, including an average rain-rate increase of 28 percent downwind of urban areas and associated changes in the daily timing of cloud formation and precipitation. He is also a research meteorologist at GSFC.

This research confirmed the Amazon savanna region experienced a shift in the onset of cloudiness and rainfall toward the morning hours. The shift was likely initiated by the contrast in surface heating across the deforested and savanna region.

The varied heights of plants and trees in the region change the aerodynamics of the atmosphere, creating more circulation and rising air. When the rising air reaches the dew point in the cooler, upper atmosphere, it condenses into water droplets and forms clouds.

Negri acknowledged other factors are involved. The savanna in this study is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide, the perfect size to influence precipitation, such as rain showers and thunderstorms. Earlier studies hypothesized certain land surfaces, such as bands of vegetation 50 to 100 kilometers (31-62 miles) wide in semiarid regions, could result in enhanced precipitation.

This research is in agreement with the recent and sophisticated computer models developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The models concluded small-scale circulations, including the mixing and rising of air induced by local land surfaces, could enhance cloudiness and rainfall. Many earlier studies that relied on models developed in the 1990s or earlier concluded widespread deforestation of the Amazon Basin would lead to decreased rainfall.

"The effects here are rather subtle and appear to be limited to the dry season. The overall effect of this deforestation on annual and daily rainfall cycles is probably small and requires more study," Negri said. Future research will use numerical models for investigating the linkage between deforested land surface and the cloud-precipitation components of the water cycle.

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

Gretchen Cook-Anderson | GSFC
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/0603amazondry.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system
21.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Scientists shed light on carbon's descent into the deep Earth
19.07.2017 | European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>