The Rainmakers

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

For more than a decade now I’ve been saying something without getting much agreement, which was:

“When you cut down the trees, you cut down the clouds”.

I based my saying on my own experience, first growing up in a ponderosa pine and fir forest, and later living in a redwood forest for half of the last thirty years. My theory was that the trees created the rain in several ways.

First, they “transpire”, meaning that they release water into the atmosphere. And not just a little water. Lots.

Next, they absorb sunlight and use it to drive chemical processes through photosynthesis. This means that the sunlight is NOT turned into heat, which leaves the area cooler.

Next, they shade the ground, again cooling the surface and the local area. This allows the surface to stay moist, increasing the amount of water available for…

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