Rainfall Patterns and Agricultural Practices

Jonathan Sands



A mechanism is proposed to account for the observed rainfall increases over forests compared to geographically similar non-forest areas. This mechanism is based on the "thermal mountain" concept advanced by Malkus and Stern in 1953. A 10 km long forest, 6°C hotter than the surrounding region, can produce a thermal mountain 1026 meters high.

The height of the thermal mountain is dependent on the prevailing windspeed, the temperature difference between the forest and the surrounding area, the absolute air temperature, and the length of the forest in the direction of the prevailing wind.

The extensive deforestation due to agricultural needs may have profound effects on the climate, especially rainfall patterns, of the farm lands and surrounding countryside.

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