Research highlight

Soil moisture linked to afternoon rains

Nature Geoscience

June 6, 2011

Enhanced evaporation of soil moisture increases the likelihood of summer afternoon rainfall in the eastern United States and Mexico suggests a study published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

Kirsten Findell and colleagues examine the impact of evaporation on rainfall in the summer in North America, using meteorological data. They find that high levels of evaporation enhance the probability of afternoon rainfall east of the Mississippi River and in Mexico.

The researchers suggest that the observed relationship between soil moisture and rainfall could result in a positive feedback between evaporation and rainfall.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo1174

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