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Author(s) of the publication: Yaroslav SIBIRTSEV

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Industrial discharges into the atmosphere are thought to be responsible by and large for the global climate warming*. Most scientists share this view. And yet Viktor Gorshkov and Anastasiya Makarieva of the St. Petersburg-based Institute of Nuclear Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences) have identified another cause of anomalous weather phenomena. Their findings have triggered lively discussions in the scientific community.

What makes the two St. Petersburg scientists think so? They base their theory on a natural phenomenon known as the biotic pump. This is how it works. The air temperature goes down the higher we rise above the earth's surface. This causes droplets of water to go up and condense at a definite altitude**. The terrestrial atmosphere is thus rarefied, causing air currents to rise. These currents draw in huge masses of sea water. Hence the wind rose: the wind blows towards water vapor-rich regions. This natural mechanism had been ticking fine until man interfered with it. It's a long-proven fact that life on dry land originated with the appearance of the flora, the plant kingdom, which evaporates more moisture than does the water surface of the ocean. The woods make the largest contribution: time was when their crowns would evaporate ten times as much moisture as the oceans. In their intact, "vestal" condition the woodlands drew humid air from soil; rising, this air condensed and came down in rainfall. The plant ecosystem pumped in as much sea water as was needed to make up for the losses caused by the fluvial runoff. This way soil humidity and productivity were sustained at an adequate level.

See: Yu. Israel, "Threat of Climatic Catastrophe?". Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004; I. Mokhov, "Global Warming: Observations and Model Calculations", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2006. - Ed.

** See: L. Krasnokutskaya, "Serving the Science of Atmosphere", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2006; "The Earth's Atmosphere is an Object of Studies", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2007. - Ed.

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Now what happened next? Large-scale cuttings of trees and shrubs in forestlands led to the higher evaporation of the ocean water, while what remained of the woodlands was no longer capable of attracting water-saturated sea air to the continents. But large tracts of forestland are still there in Russia's northwest and in Siberia, pumping in the Arctic Ocean's moisture. This biotic pump accounts for the prevailing cool winds blowing southwards from the Arctic, and precipitation in the form of rain- and snowfall.

The natural biotic pump is no longer on as it should be in Europe, America and Australia. Hence the Gulf Stream's warming. And hence the shrinking snow cover in the mountain regions of Scandinavia and elsewhere.

Drs. Gorshkov and Makarieva regard the growing volume of industrial discharges all over Europe, Asia and America as the Number One problem in the struggle against natural anomalies, the hothouse effect above all. Water vapor and cloud cover are the two main components of the terrestrial atmosphere that absorb as much as 80 percent of thermal radiation, with the rest 20 percent being absorbed by carbon dioxide. Restructions on the discharges of this gas would not work. The situation can be remedied only through the restoration of the earth's biota; the first step is to put the lid on the felling of woods.

V. Gorshkov, A. Makarieva, " Tug of War in Nature ". - Supplement to the Russian language journal "V mire nauki" (In the World of Science), March 2007

Prepared by Yaroslav SIBIRTSEV


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Yaroslav SIBIRTSEV, VIABILITY OF WOODLANDS // London: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 25.09.2018. URL: (date of access: 22.03.2023).

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