Assessing the ecological importance of clouds has substantial implications for our basic understanding of ecosystems and for predicting how they will respond to a changing climate. This study was conducted in a coastal Bishop pine forest ecosystem that experiences regular cycles of stratus cloud cover and inundation in summer. The study concludes that clouds are important to the ecological functioning of these coastal forests, providing summer shading and cooling that relieve pine and microbial drought stress as well as regular moisture inputs that elevate plant and microbial metabolism.
Mariah S. Carbone, A. Park Williams, Anthony R. Ambrose, Claudia M. Boot, Eliza S. Bradley, Todd E. Dawson, Sean M. Schaeffer, Joshua P. Schimel, Christopher J. Still
Global Change Biology, November 7, 2012 (online)
UCSB press release (includes video)
Featured Summary of this research project
Following is a sample of the media coverage of this study:
Red Orbit: Climate Change Could Affect Entire Forest Ecosystems
More information about this project's research