Vapor plumes in a tropical wet forest: spotting the invisible evaporation

Jiménez-Rodríguez, César Dionisio; Coenders-Gerrits, Miriam; Schilperoort, Bart; González-Angarita, Adriana del Pilar; Savenije, Hubert

Forest evaporation exports a vast amount of water vapor from land ecosystems into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, evaporation during rain events is neglected or considered of minor importance in dense ecosystems. Air convection moves the water vapor upwards leading to the formation of large invisible vapor plumes, while the identification of visible vapor plumes has not yet been studied. This work describes the formation process of vapor plumes in a tropical wet forest as evidence of evaporation processes happening during rain events. In the dry season of 2018 at La Selva Biological Station (LSBS) in Costa Rica it was possible to spot visible vapor plumes within the forest canopy. The combination of time-lapse videos at the canopy top with conventional meteorological measurements along the canopy profile allowed us to identify the driver conditions required for this process to happen. This phenomenon happened only during rain events. Visible vapor plumes during the daytime occurred when the following three conditions are accomplished: presence of precipitation (inline-formulaP), air convection, and a lifting condensation level value smaller than 100 m at 43 m height (inline-formulazlcl.43).



Jiménez-Rodríguez, César Dionisio / Coenders-Gerrits, Miriam / Schilperoort, Bart / et al: Vapor plumes in a tropical wet forest: spotting the invisible evaporation. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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