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January 31 2013

Keep rainforests they drive the planet's winds


WHAT creates the wind? Anyone will tell you that temperature differences are key. Hot air rises and is replaced by cooler air surging in beneath. Except that maybe the explanation found in every textbook is too simple.

What if, instead, the winds that drive atmospheric circulation are mainly created by the condensation of moisture? Much of this occurs over rainforests as water evaporates or is transpired from the trees. The physicists and foresters behind this controversial idea say that if we chop down the forests, we will lose the winds - and the rains they bring with them.

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