Carbon Pollution to Deprive Tropical Forests of Iconic Clouds

May 7, 2019

Tropical rainforests in mountainous regions have their own special ecosystems that rely on the moisture from low-hanging clouds. But human-caused climate change could cause these clouds — and the ecosystem that depends on them — to disappear starting as soon as 25 years from now, a recent study published in PLOS ONE predicts.

The study argues heat-trapping carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels will make it too warm to maintain the clouds. Instead, researchers project the water will start evaporating. The climate models predict warmer temperatures and less rainfall over land.

The researchers are worried that the disappearance of the clouds will not only take away their beauty from the forests, but it will hurt species that depend on the clouds. Monarch butterflies, for example, rely on the clouds to maintain temperatures during the winter when they migrate to Central Mexico.

The mist is also a vital water supply for some species in the forests, and scientists are worried they will suffer from the loss of the clouds.

Carbon Pollution to Deprive Tropical Forests of Iconic Clouds