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Wetlands and Forests Regulate Climate via Evapotranspiration

  • Petra Hesslerová
  • Jan PokornýEmail author
  • Hanna Huryna
  • David Harper
Chapter
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 238)

Abstract

The role of wetlands and forests in climate and climate change is usually considered as a part of their functions as source or sink of greenhouse gases. However, the permanent vegetation in these systems is an active factor that, through the process of evapotranspiration, directly influences climate as well. Wet vegetation transforms solar radiation into the latent heat of water vapour. Evapotranspiration is a powerful tool that has, due to the phase change of water, a double air-conditioning effect in the landscape. In addition, it reduces thermal gradients, mitigates temperature extremes and closes water and mass cycles. Evapotranspiration-condensation processes slow down where there is a lack of water and permanent vegetation. Solar radiation is then transformed into sensible heat. The overheated surfaces warm the adjacent air layer. Warm air rises turbulently upwards and is capable of absorbing higher amounts of water vapour, which is then transmitted to higher levels of the atmosphere where condensation occurs. These processes significantly dry out the landscape. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, however, do not take into account this direct effect of water and vegetation on climate. This chapter explains the direct function of wetlands and the air-conditioning effect of evapotranspiration, which is also illustrated with thermal ground images. The role of forest and wetlands in transport of water from ocean into continents in terms of a biotic pump is discussed on the basis of the literature.

Keywords

Solar energy Latent heat flux Surface temperature Thermal images Climate change Landscape restoration 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The paper was supported by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic—Institutional support for the long-term strategic development of research organization, by the project Smart Regions—Buildings and Settlements Information Modelling, Technology and Infrastructure for Sustainable Development No TE02000077 and the project Sustainable Integrated Management for the NEXUS of water-land-food-energy-climate for a resource-efficient Europe which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689150 SIM4NEXUS. The authors also acknowledge Urška Ratajc for the participation in Fig. 4.2 design.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Hesslerová
    • 1
  • Jan Pokorný
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hanna Huryna
    • 1
  • David Harper
    • 2
  1. 1.ENKI, o.p.s.TřeboňCzech Republic
  2. 2.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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