Forests and the Weather

Forests and the Weather

Cross-section of atmospheric circulation, showing how changes and temperature and moisture at the equator can impact the global climate system. Image source: NOAA.

Cross-section of atmospheric circulation, showing how changes and temperature and moisture at the equator can impact the global climate system. Image source: NOAA.

Tropical Forests and California’s Weather

Tropical forests in the Amazon Basin, the Congo Basin, Southeast Asia and elsewhere help to drive the planet’s weather patterns by adding moisture to the atmosphere. As forestland disappears, the patterns change in ways that have ripple effects across the globe.

Researchers recently modeled the effects of total forest removal in the Amazon Basin, and found that such a scenario could lead to widespread regional climate change with effects seen in California.

deforestation of the Amazon can act as a driver of regional climate change in the extratropics, including areas of the western United States that are agriculturally important.”

The report concluded there’s a possibility of the West Coast losing up to 20 percent of its rainfall and California seeing a 50 percent decrease in snowfall, both issues could heavily impact on the natural and human communities of the state.  It would have significant affects on the state’s economy as well especially on the agriculture industry in what  is the world’s eighth largest economy. While the model looked at an extreme case of deforestation, the study highlights the fact that changes in forest cover will have negative consequences on California’s agriculture and tourism industries.