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File:Afternoon Clouds over the Amazon Rainforest.jpg


English: This image reveals how the forest and the atmosphere interact to create a uniform layer of “popcorn” clouds one afternoon. During the dry season, the rainforest gets more sunlight. The plants thrive, putting out extra leaves and increasing photosynthesis. The photosynthesising plants release water vapour into the atmosphere. Water vapour is more buoyant than dry air, so it rises and eventually condenses into clouds like the popcorn clouds shown in this image. These clouds are almost certainly a result of transpiration. The clouds are distributed evenly across the forest, but no clouds formed over the Amazon River and its floodplain, where there is no tall canopy of trees. When water vapour condenses, it releases heat into the atmosphere. The heat makes the air even more buoyant, and it rises. The higher it rises, the more the air expands and cools, which allows more water vapour to condense. Eventually, thunderstorms can form. The more concentrated clusters of clouds in the image are likely thunderstorms.
Date 26 August 2009
Source NASA Earth Observatory
Author Jeff Schmaltz

Image courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response at NASA GSFC.


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
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