Amazonian deforestation causes systematic changes in regional dry season precipitation. Some of these changes at contemporary large scales (a few hundreds of kilometers) of deforestation have been associated with a ‘dynamical mesoscale circulation’, induced by the replacement of rough forest with smooth pasture. In terms of decadal averages, this dynamical mechanism yields increased precipitation in downwind regions and decreased precipitation in upwind regions of deforested areas. Daily, seasonal, and interannual variations in this phenomenon may exist, but have not yet been identified or explained. This study uses observations and numerical simulations to develop relationships between the dynamical mechanism and the local- and continental-scale atmospheric conditions across a range of time scales. It is found that the strength of the dynamical mechanism is primarily controlled by the regional-scale thermal and dynamical conditions of the boundary layer, and not by the continental- and global-scale atmospheric state. Lifting condensation level and wind speed within the boundary layer have large and positive correlations with the strength of the dynamical mechanism. The strength of these relationships depends on time scale and is strongest over the seasonal cycle. Overall, the dynamical mechanism is found to be strongest during times when the atmosphere is relatively stable. Hence, for contemporary large scales of deforestation this phenomenon is found to be the prevalent convective triggering mechanism during the dry and parts of transition seasons (especially during the dry-to-wet transition), significantly affecting the hydroclimate during this period.
Ant colonies regulate activity in response to changing conditions without using centralized control. Harvester ant colonies forage in the desert for seeds, and their regulation of foraging manages a tradeoff between spending and obtaining water. Foragers lose water while outside in the dry air, but the colony obtains water by metabolizing the fats in the seeds they eat. Previous work shows that the rate at which an outgoing forager leaves the nest depends on its recent experience of brief antennal contact with returning foragers that carry a seed. We examine how this process can yield foraging rates that are robust to uncertainty and responsive to temperature and humidity across minutes to hour-long timescales. To explore possible mechanisms, we develop a low-dimensional analytical model with a small number of parameters that captures observed foraging behavior. The model uses excitability dynamics to represent response to interactions inside the nest and a random delay distribution to represent foraging time outside the nest. We show how feedback of outgoing foragers returning to the nest stabilizes the incoming and outgoing foraging rates to a common value determined by the ``volatility’’ of available foragers. The model exhibits a critical volatility above which there is sustained foraging at a constant rate and below which there is cessation of foraging. To explain how the foraging rates of colonies adjust to temperature and humidity, we propose a mechanism that relies on foragers modifying their volatility after they leave the nest and get exposed to the environment. Our study highlights the importance of feedback in the regulation of foraging activity and points to modulation of volatility as a key to explaining differences in foraging activity in response to conditions and across colonies. Our results present opportunities for generalization to other contexts and systems with excitability and feedback across multiple timescales.
We measure the coherent Rayleigh-Brillouin scattering (CRBS) signal integral as a function of the recorded gas pressure in He, Co2, SF6, and air, and we confirm the already established quadratic dependence of the signal on the gas density. We propose the use of CRBS as an effective diagnostic for the remote measurement of gas’ density (pressure) and temperature, as well as polarizability, for gases of known composition.