Climate feedbacks: Rain and moisture

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A shift in rainfall patterns in a particular area can affect the local biosphere and ecosystems. If rainfall decreases, this may disturb the growth cycle of trees. Because trees release moisture into the air through their leaves – in a process called transpiration – fewer or smaller trees may result in less moisture in the air, leading to even less rainfall and in turn even fewer trees. This positive feedback cycle may even lead to ‘tipping points’ beyond which a forest ecosystem may be so damaged that it doesn’t grow back even if the climate returns to its original state.