Authors: Anastassia M. Makarieva, Victor G. Gorshkov
Addresses: Theoretical Physics Division, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Gatchina, 188300, St. Petersburg, Russia. ' Theoretical Physics Division, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Gatchina, 188300, St. Petersburg, Russia
Abstract: Intense condensation associated with high evaporation from natural forest cover maintains regions of low atmospheric pressure on land. This causes moist air to flow from ocean to land, which compensates the river runoff. Deforestation induces large-scale desiccation by disrupting this flow. Here we overview this theory and quantify the horizontal pressure gradients that govern the continental moisture supply. High evaporation and extensive natural forests guarantee both a stable and high throughput hydrological cycle. Forests protect a continent against devastating floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Sustaining natural forests is a sound strategy for water security and climate stabilisation.
Keywords: biotic pump; deforestation; condensation; evaporation; transpiration; leaf area; atmospheric circulation; hydrological cycle; desertification; atmospheric dynamics; horizontal pressure gradients; continental moisture supply; natural forests; water security; climate stabilisation.
International Journal of Water, 2010 Vol.5 No.4, pp.365 - 385
Available online: 24 Feb 2011Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article