DNR weekend reading: Will Amazon forest destruction decrease NW rainfall? … and other science news

Dishman Hills NRCA
Dishman Hills, a DNR-managed Natural Resources Conservation Area, is a 530-acre nature reserve just east of Spokane that was dramatically sculpted by the great Glacial Lake Missoula floods between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago. Photo: Jane Chavey/DNR. [CLICK photo to see more views.]

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Princeton University: If a tree falls in Brazil…? Amazon deforestation could mean droughts for western U.S.

In research highlighting the broader impacts of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, Princeton University-led researchers report that a total deforestation of the Amazon would significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States (including 20 percent less rain for the coastal Northwest), resulting in water shortages and a greater risk of forest fires

University of Washington: Redwood trees reveal history of West Coast rain, fog, ocean conditions

Redwood trees’ growth patterns are too erratic to use in reconstructing historic climate conditions through tree ring records, but a University of Washington researcher has developed a method of using oxygen and carbon atoms in the wood to detect fog and rainfall in previous seasons, opening the door to using the trees as a window into past coastal conditions.

Boise State University: Study Documents Effects of Road Noises on Migratory Birds

An experiment by Boise State University researchers shows that traffic noise is the primary factor in the negative effects that roads can cause to wildlife, including migratory birds.

Australian National University: Motion of the Ocean: Predicting the Big Swells

A newly published study in the Journal of Physical Oceanography concludes that for most of the Indian, Pacific and South Atlantic oceans, it is weather in the Southern Ocean thousands of kilometres away, not local storms, that is the dominant force behind ocean wave conditions.

Wits University: As goes the soil, so goes the fate of civilization

Great civilizations have fallen because they failed to prevent the degradation of the soils on which they and their economies were founded. The modern world could suffer the same fate, suggest researchers at South Africa’s Wits University in a paper published in the journal Science.

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