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Weather Report: Wet Weather From the Rainforest

What does rainfall in an African rainforest have to do with weather in the Midwest? How can rainforests all over the world affect the global climate? Why might a farmer in France be interested in the condition of a rainforest in Southeast Asia?

It all has to do with water — or more precisely — how the water cycle works in the rainforests.

This is how it works: the steamy, wet weather of many of the world’s rainforests help to add water to the atmosphere. It does this through the many different plants and trees releasing water from their leaves into the air. That moisture from the leaves is then absorbed, or soaked up, into the air. This in turn, can lead to the forming of rain clouds. The clouds then release the moisture in the form of rain. Now think of this—this happens over and over and over again. This ongoing process helps the rainforests stay healthy and green — which means that the plants can grow, animals can eat and so the ecosystem of the rainforest is in balance.

But that moisture does not all stay in the rainforests. Scientists have learned that the water cycle of the Amazon can impact rainfall in Texas!

Costa Rica Rainforest Weather Water Cycle Image Ellen Senisi
But continuing threats to the rainforest such as deforestation, can disturb the water cycle. This in turn can change weather patterns all over the world. So, think about this the next time it rains in your neighborhood. That rain may traveling to you from a rainforest halfway across the world!

Something to Think About: Why might the cutting down of trees in the rainforest change weather patterns?

Look further: Monga Bay: "Rainforests Help Maintain the Water Cycle" ; US Geological Survey: "The Water Cycle"

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 1: Chapter 2, Lesson 1, Grade 2; Grades 3-5;  Unit 1: Chapter 2, Lesson 2, Grades 2-5

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