Posted by: Johan Normark | September 15, 2011

Evaporating water cools climate

I am trying to find new perspectives of water as an archaeological object. Today I ran into this study that was published yesterday. Carnegie’s Global Ecology department suggests that evaporated water contributes to the cooling of the earth on a global scale. It has for long been known that local areas are affected by evaporation from trees and bodies of water. Deforestation contributes to local warming since the local evaporation decreases.

An area is cooled when energy is spent for evaporation rather than heating the surface of the same area. Increased evaporation leads to the formation of clouds low in the atmosphere. These in their turn reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth and this leads to cooling.

Caldeira, one of the researchers, says that “this shows us that the evaporation of water from trees and lakes in urban parks, like New York’s Central Park, not only help keep our cities cool, but also helps keep the whole planet cool.”

This news is of interest to my focus on the hydrological cycle as a hyperobject. Bodies of water in caves help to cool them. Perhaps the huge aguada at Yo’okop helped to cool the site to some minor extent. The question if this cooling made up for the warming caused by deforestation…



  1. Some Present Day Highlanders Think That The Cloulds And Storms Are Born In The Caves,And That The Cloulds Emitted Are Hung In The Branches Of A Near-by Tree.

  2. The association between caves and clouds also exist in the lowlands.

    Highland Leagend On The Creation Of Maximon And The Spiritual Link Between The People And Trees.

  4. On Mayan sculptures, the God of Rain or Storms is shown holding a T-Cross, the symbol for Ik, God of Wind. The wind brings the storm clouds and the rain and is symbolic of the breath of life itself. The T-Cross shape is seen in ancient architecture throughout Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Some ancient codices of the Maya depict the tree of life as a T shape. According to Kenneth Johnson in Jaguar Wisdom, “trees and the air are intimately linked. Without the symbiosis of trees and wind, there would be no life on earth, nothing to breathe. What better symbol for the breath of life then, than the
    T-cross with its dual meaning of ‘tree’ and ‘breath’?”


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