Judith Schwartz’ book “Water in Plain Sight” is a really great read on all these interconnections between vegetation, soil, water, atmosphere and climate. If you haven’t read it yet, go for it. The publisher agreed to make available the chapter “Missing the Water for the Trees” in PDF format, as this subject becomes more and more attention, and is so important for cooling the climate. So, here you go with the chapter. Enjoy! And join
Rising temperatures and weather extremes such as droughts and floods threaten the Earth and the human population, besides biodiversity loss, land degradation and other major issues. However, it seems we have a solution for many of these issues right before us: We can work with plants, soils and water to cool the climate and rehydrate and restore Earth’s landscapes. With our “Climate Landscapes Conference“, we want to draw attention to the interrelationships and potentials of
Roots can help to hydrate landscapes and decrease wildfire risk: “In the semi-arid climate of the Great Basin in Utah, sagebrush grows in loam-skeleton soil, soil that sits on beds of alluvial gravel. Two ecologists, Richards and Caldwell set out to measure experimentally the hydraulic lift hypothesis – that is the assumption, that the roots of the trees bring up groundwater and spread it forth into the upper soil layer.  They found that the sagebrush’s
Fascinating: “Coral reefs produce a volatile substance called dimethylsulphide or DMS which oxidizes in the atmosphere to produce cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). These are tiny sulphur aerosol particles around which water vapor condenses to form clouds, and lead to precipitation. Yet Jones has discovered that even a slight rise in ocean temperatures could affect this natural process, making climate change a significant threat to clouds (and precipitation) seeded by coral reefs. What this suggests is that fewer
Really impressive: The installation of thousands of rock detention structures in the Turkey Pen Watershed, of the Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona, provided a 30-year case study to consider low tech and low-cost Natural Infrastructure in dryland watersheds. The USGS systematic study, through observation and experiment, offers verifiable data that documents their efficacy as a Nature-based Solution, that can provide climate adaptation and mitigation benefits here in the Chiricahua Mountains and beyond.
“A group of researchers have posed a fascinating — and downright mind bending — thought experiment: If a planet like Earth can be “alive,” can it also have a mind of its own? The team published a paper exploring this question in the International Journal of Astrobiology. In it, they present the idea of “planetary intelligence,” which describes the collective knowledge and cognition of an entire planet. The researchers point to evidence that underground networks of fungi
Over the course of 20 years, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado and his wife Lélia have transformed a barren plot of land into a thriving forest.
Interesting explanation on the why/how/if of extreme weather attribution maths: In the past two years or so we have seen many headlines about extreme weather events: floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes. In some cases, climate scientists claim they can “attribute” those extreme weather events to climate change. But what exactly does that mean? How does one calculate this? And how reliable are those estimates? This video is a brief intro into the young research area
Don’t only look at carbon! We find that tropical deforestation leads to strong net global warming as a result of both CO2 and biophysical effects. From the tropics to a point between 30◦N and 40◦N, biophysical cooling by standing forests is both local and global, adding to the global cooling effect of CO2 sequestered by forests. In the mid- latitudes up to 50◦N, deforestation leads to modest net global warming as warming from released forest
Lake in Chile is disappearing: The Penuelas reservoir in central Chile was until twenty years ago the main source of water for the city of Valparaiso, holding enough water for 38,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Water for only two pools now remains. Normally, low-pressure storms from the Pacific unload precipitation over Chile in winter, recharging aquifers and packing the Andes mountains with snow. But naturally occurring warming of the sea off Chile’s coast, which blocks storms
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Not sure if this article is still correct after 10 years of further model refining. I presume that yes, as these water interactions are really difficult to model. There is now ample evidence that an inadequate representation of clouds and moist convection, or more generally the coupling between atmospheric water and circulation, is the main limitation in current representations of the climate system. Rather than reducing biases stemming from an inadequate representation of basic processes,
John Oliver discusses the water shortage in the American west, how it’s already impacting the people who live there. And what God has to say about it. Partially comedy, but with much really interesting information.
Good read, but only focused on the consumption side. The viewpoint missing for me is that we totally mismanage the water infiltration potential. In many places the answer is yes – if we continue as we have done. The rest of the world could learn a lot from Denmark, one of the few countries to have reduced its water consumption. Danish water consumption today is approximately 40 percent lower than it was in 1980 (see
Great compilation of fascinating large scale earth healing projects: Arvari river restoration, Rhajastan, NW-India, Rajenda Singh, Tarun Bharat Sangh, 375 johads, river flows perennial again after 9 years of work after being dry for the whole year for 60 years, their initial work covered 500 km2 and 70 villages; they formed a river parliament to take control of the new water resources, in following years creation of >9000 water harvesting structures, four more dry rivers
Wow, 70°C on the tilled soil (38°C air temperature). Incredible. In comparison, the patchy clover right next to it is 33°C cooler! I am tempted to exclaim: If you want to cool the planet, cover the soil! More on the background of the influence of land use on climate and water cycle in my UNEP paper, presentation, conference “Climate Landscapes”.
Great quote from Masanobu Fukuoka: It was in an American desert that I suddenly realized that rain does not fall from the heavens – it comes up from the ground. Desert formation is not due to the absence of rain, but the rain ceases to fall because the vegetation has disappeared.
Once again on the road to measure temperature differences. Very exciting. Here two comparisons – at each 20°C difference between “without vegetation/open ground” and “with vegetation/trees”. Very impressive. What effects do surface temperatures of 60°C have, directly on the ground, the plants, the air layers, the weather?
Interesting article on experiences on the ground (and in the sky), when changing from open to covered soils: New evidence and research regarding the impact of soil microbes on the creation of precipitation can be accurately characterized as a game changer in our understanding of what it takes to produce rain across the globe. The immediate question is: What can we do to create favorable situations for this ice-nucleation cycle to occur? The answer resides
Good read, water stress increasing worldwide, but only focused on the consumption side. The viewpoint missing for me is that we totally mismanage the water infiltration potential. In many places the answer is yes – if we continue as we have done. The rest of the world could learn a lot from Denmark, one of the few countries to have reduced its water consumption. Danish water consumption today is approximately 40 percent lower than it
Cooling forests: Here, we combine extensive records of remote sensing and in situ observation to show that non-radiative mechanisms dominate the local response in most regions for eight of nine common LCMC perturbations. We find that forest cover gains lead to an annual cooling in all regions south of the upper conterminous United States, northern Europe, and Siberia—reinforcing the attractiveness of re-/afforestation as a local mitigation and adaptation measure in these regions. Our results affirm


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