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Feel the Pump Physics

Biotic pump of atmospheric moisture functions like this. Water vapor from the forest canopy undergoes condensation in the atmosphere and disappears from the gas phase. For this reason, the air rarifies and its pressure drops. In the result, air is sucked from below to compensate for this pressure drop. This, in its turn, leads to the drop of pressure at the surface, so that surface air is drawn from the neighboring areas to the area of the upwelling. If there is ocean in the neighborhood, then the air which is drawn to the continent will be enriched by evaporated moisture.

Pump physics is simple. One needs to have an idea of what ideal gas is, what diffusion is and how it differs from the dynamic flow of gases and, finally, how water vapor pressure depends on temperature (Clausius-Clapeyron law). All these phenomena can be vividly illustrated with use of interactive Flash models. You can change and monitor gas pressure, make water evaporate, make gas mixtures diffuse or flow dynamically. You can also get an idea of the major components of atmospheric circulation over forests, clear-cuts or deserts, by switching the circulation on and off yourself. All models were created for our website by S.K. Buruchenko.

Atmospheric circulation on the basis of the evaporative force

Presented is a preliminary beta version of the model. While the directions of air flow are informative, the visually determined relative spatial concentrations of gases are not in all cases realistic.

If you have problems with viewing the Flash object, click here for free installation of the latest version of Flash Player.

If you have problems with viewing the Flash object, click here for free installation of the latest version of Flash Player.

Surface air flows from the area with lower evaporation to the area with higher evaporation

In all scenes water vapor condensation (=disapperance of blue balls) occurs at the level of clouds. Air (red balls) circulate along closed trajectories.

Desert Desert: evaporation on land is zero, surface air is drawn from land to ocean year round. Gravitational water runoff (press the dark blue star): all water accumulated on the continents (in soil, lakes, rivers, glaciers etc.) will be lost to the ocean in but a few years.

Forest Forest pump of atmospheric moisture: evaporation from forest canopy is biotically regulated to exceed evaporation from the ocean in such a manner, that the resulting flux of moist air from ocean to land would precisely compensate the gravitational river runoff preventing droughts as well as floods.

Winter monsoon Winter monsoon. Land is deforested yet not desertified completely. In winter time evaporation from land is significantly lower than over the ocean. The ocean draws surface air from land. No precipitation. Drought.

Summer monsoon Summer monsoon. During the period of maximal solar activity, evaporation from deforested yet not desertified land can exceed oceanic evaporation. Biotically uncontrolled fluxes of moist oceanic air stream to land from the ocean. As they are not controlled, they bring with them excessive precipitation and floods.

To summarize: Deforestation leads to the dangerous reversal of atmospheric circulation locking the continents for moisture

To monitor the changes, move the blue slide.

If you have problems with viewing the Flash object, click here for free installation of the latest version of Flash Player.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to ask them here.