Magazine article American Forests

Watching the Sky from the Fence

Magazine article American Forests

Watching the Sky from the Fence

Article excerpt

A fence in the Australian outback is letting scientists study how land use affects climate. The fence was built in the early 1900s to keep rabbits from snacking on farmland produce.

The 2000-mile-long so-called bunny fence wasn't much help in keeping out the rabbits. But the New York Times reports that scientists have noticed that the sky above the fenced-in land is clear while that on the side of native vegetation sports rain-producing clouds.

Two researchers, Tom Lyons of Australia's Murdoch University and Udaysankar S. Nair of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told the Times they can think of three possible explanations. The first is that the dark native plant matter absorbs and releases more heat than light-colored crops; that heat then combines with water vapor to form clouds. Or, it could be that warmer air on the native side rises, with the resulting vacuum filled by cooler air from the cropland side, forming clouds on the native side. The third idea is that the crop side has a higher concentration of aerosols, which results in drops of water and a decreased likelihood of rain. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.