New research may have discovered the secret to the rainforest's mist.
In the Amazon forest, spores make it rain. New research has concluded that potassium-rich salt released by trees and fungi may be the basis for much of the region’s precipitation. The 1.4 billion acres Amazon forest contains 2.5 million species of insects, 40,000 species of plants, 1,300 species of birds, and more still to be discovered. That land also contains more than two-thirds of all fresh water on earth, but where does that trademark mist come from?
When rain forms, water molecules gather around particles in the air such as dust, salt spray from the ocean or even sulfur dioxide from volcanoes. Scientists have long known that particles floating above the rainforest are the basis of rainfall there, but the origin of those particles has been a mystery until now.
Christopher Pöhlker of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, went out to study the origin of the rainforest’s precipitation, finding that rain had salty bits at the core. This research has led scientist to believe that the tiny bits of potassium-rich salt are at the core of the Amazon’s trademark mist.
To read more about the research, visit the Science journal blog.