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The Biosphere 2 in Tucson is experimenting how rainforests adapt to a drought

Posted at 8:01 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 23:26:45-05

TUCSON — When you think of Arizona, a tropical rainforest is probably the last thing that comes to mind, but that's exactly what there is inside Biosphere 2.

"Biosphere 2 is the largest controlled environment anywhere dedicated to understanding the impacts of climate change anywhere in the world," said Deputy Director John Adams.

The abundant moisture and lush, green vegetation are what you'd expect in a rainforest, but from October through early January, the rain that was produced inside was shut off, but it was in the name of science.

The experiment, called "Water, Atmosphere, and Life Dynamics" or WALD, tested how a rainforest adapts to a drought.

"They're just beginning to analyze the data and in the coming months and years many papers will come out of this research which will better inform scientists around the world," Arnold said.

The research could in turn allow people who manage resources in the tropics to be better informed and to take action when a drought begins.

The Biosphere 2 is open to the public.