Posted October 19, 2018 12:30:58 We’ve known for years that rain is a crucial ingredient in the life cycle of plants.
And now, researchers at the St. Clair Hospital and University of Toronto’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have discovered that raindrops also have the same properties of the liquid that the water on a frozen pond has.
In a new study published in Science, the researchers describe a system of small molecules that can capture moisture from raindrops and provide it to plants.
“We’re finding that rainfall and its precipitation are very similar,” says Dr. Mark Dittmann, an associate professor of soil science at St. Clare and a co-author on the study.
“If you look at raindrops on the ground, they’re really small, but the precipitation that you get is much more.
You can make raindrops out of water.
But if you look in the air, you can make water.”
Dittmann says that water has a great ability to penetrate soil and water vapor.
Raindrops can easily penetrate that barrier.
And in the tropics, they can penetrate the soil, which can then trap moisture and hold it for plant roots to use as fuel.
When raindrops hit the ground on the surface, they pick up that moisture and evaporate it, making the soil warm enough for plant growth.
But this is not the case in the humid tropics where moisture is trapped by plants and can evaporate.
“It’s a problem in the dry tropics because we don’t have any plant life that needs to be protected from water,” Dittman says.
Scientists first came across this idea by studying the chemistry of water droplets in a lab experiment that involved measuring the water molecules in water that fell from rain.
That’s because scientists have long suspected that water droplet molecules have the properties of liquid and ice.
In the lab, the scientists could create water droples by adding a liquid or a frozen sample to a sample of water that had been dropped into a glass bowl.
When they let the liquid or the ice fall in, the liquid molecules formed a droplet that resembled a droplets of water in ice.
But as the researchers observed the effect in the lab experiment, they realized that there was something else going on in the raindrops.
In order to be able to make water, the molecules in the droplets have to be attracted to each other, so they need to be in contact.
When the molecules are in contact, the water freezes.
The process creates a layer of ice that is stable, and the molecules can move around that ice to create more droplets.
“There’s a huge amount of water being captured and evaporated in the precipitation,” Ditman says, “but we don, the plants, really know what’s going on.”
Scientists found that when they dropped water into the droplet, it formed a layer that was slightly thicker than the surrounding water.
This made it easier for the molecules to move around in the water.
The result was that when the dropper dropped the water, it had a higher viscosity than the water in the bowl.
The droplet could carry the water at a higher pressure than the bowl, allowing it to condense and hold that water as a liquid.
When the researchers dropped the droppers into a liquid, they found that it was almost completely evaporated.
Dittmans lab team had hoped that the higher visco-dissolved water would trap heat and evaporative energy, but this was unexpected.
“We’ve been studying raindrops for years,” Dattmann says.
“What we saw in our lab was that they’re very similar to water.
It’s just that we’ve never really understood the interaction between water and raindrops.”
Dissolved droplets from the rain are the most efficient form of rainwater, but there are other ways to capture water, including freezing rainwater and evaporating water, so Dittmns research is aimed at finding ways to make rain water more efficient.
Dittman hopes to be one of the first to apply this technology to other ecosystems.
“The rainwater that we’re using in our research is probably not going to be enough,” Ditzmann says, referring to other water systems that have been tested.
“It’s really important to think of this in terms of what we could do with the rainwater we have on the planet.”