This article was originally published on Phys.org 


“Can crop irrigation affect the clouds that form high above farm fields? Indeed it can, say atmospheric scientists. Agricultural  to meet a growing demand for food is adding significant amounts of water to the  and altering regional land use and land cover. These changes affect lower atmosphere circulation, potentially influencing cloud development and precipitation.

To further understand how irrigation may be affecting precipitation, scientists from several institutions have teamed up for a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project known as the Great Plains Irrigation Experiment, or GRAINEX.

“Prior studies have found that the Great Plains is a hotspot where soil moisture plays an important role in cloud formation and precipitation,” said Nick Anderson, a program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research. “Changes in land use and irrigation for agricultural activities could be important in land-atmosphere interactions in this region. The results from this study will be valuable to our understanding of the link between irrigation and precipitation.”…”

Read on at: Phys.org