Aug 8, 2017

The Amazon's trees can make it rain

Dave Lawler, author of World

Andre Penner / AP

Trees in the Amazon can generate rain, according to a new study

in Science

.

  • How it works: Plants release water vapor through their leaves during photosynthesis, and in the rainforest that process actually creates "low-level clouds." A bonus effect: the rain from those clouds warms the atmosphere, causing wind patterns to shift and pulling more moisture in from the ocean.
  • How they did it: Using a NASA satellite that studies the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere, the team led by Rong Fu, a climate scientist at UCLA, found that water vapor over the Amazon was too high in the isotope deuterium to come from the ocean, and must instead come from plants.
  • Why it matters: It's interesting that trees can play an active role in causing rainfall , but as Science points out, in this context it could mean that deforestation actually causes droughts.

Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court sides with California on coronavirus worship service rules

The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's liberal justices, to reject a challenge to California's pandemic restrictions on worship services.

Why it matters: This is a setback for those seeking to speed the reopening of houses of worship, including President Trump.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.