While the Earth is moistened by rainfall, scientists believe that the water in soil can, in turn, influence rainfall both regionally and globally. Forecasters, water resource managers and farmers may benefit once this connection is better understood.
A NASA researcher led an effort that used a dozen computer models to locate "hot spots" around the world where soil moisture may strongly affect rainfall during northern hemisphere summertime. The results appear in the August 20 issue of Science Magazine.
The "hot spots" appear in the central plains of North America, the Sahel, equatorial Africa, and India. Less intense hot spots show up in South America, central Asia and China. These hot spots are, in a sense, analogous to ocean areas where sea surface temperatures strongly affect climate and weather, the most famous example being in the eastern tropical Pacific, where El Ninos occur.
Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
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