As anybody knows, there are a lot of forests. I stumbled upon the question whether these have any effect on the global wind-systems.

Imagine the following situation. All trees suddenly die in an instant. Soon the leaves will dry and fall down, thus only the wood-part remains standing.

The wind can now blow much easier through the trees.

But will this really have an effect?

Do forests influence the windsystems around the earth significantly? How would these winds change, if at all? Would storm-like squalls be more common?


1 Answer 1


Wind is largely driven by differences in atmospheric pressure.

The effect of trees and forests is to force the winds to flow over the forests. The loss of leaves in forests would result in winds having a larger impact at ground level. Also, due to the change in the surface roughness to air flow because of the loss of leaves the wind would lose less of its energy.

It has been suggested in this paper, though not yet fully accepted by many, that water vapour in the atmosphere due to evaporation and transpiration can contain sufficient latent heat to accelerate air and drive winds.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Along with that paper, do also read the extensive discussion (the publicly available peer review). Not yet fully accepted sometimes means completely wrong. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Apr 23, 2015 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit: Interesting peer review discussion $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Apr 23, 2015 at 14:59

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