A rainforest is one of the areas on Earth most defined by its rainfall, and it has wet and dry seasons. These seasons drastically affect plants and wildlife there. However, the wet and dry seasons are important not only for a rainforest but for the rest of the world. Dry rainy seasons in rainforests can cause problems worldwide. The typical wet season is defined as a period when 10 to 40 inches of rain falls per month. In the typical dry season, less than 4 inches of rain falls per month.
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The wet and dry seasons in a rainforest aren't like the ones in other parts of the world, since it's technically always raining in a rainforest. A more accurate description of the seasons would be the "very wet season" and the "not so wet" season. Every rainforest has periods of high and low water levels. The duration of the wet and dry seasons depends on the month the season begins and the intensity of the weather.
A rainforest is generally always hot and humid, but weather changes considerably during the wet and dry seasons. Days during the rainy season are typically cloudy, with most of the rain falling in the late afternoon and evening. In the dry season, the sun can shine for up to 10 hours a day. Despite the abundant sunshine, a shower usually develops in the afternoon.
Plants and Wildlife
Heavy rainfall can cause some areas of a rainforest to flood, and these areas create unique environments for plants and animals. Some fish eat insects that live in trees when these become accessible because of the floods. Some fish even eat fruit and seeds that the flooding make available to them.
The giant anteater adjusts its diet during the dry season, eating more termites because they provide extra moisture. Many rodents spend the dry season living off their stored fat because foraging for food leaves them more vulnerable to predators.
Low rainfall during the rainy season can affect life outside the rainforest, which is one of the largest oxygen producers on Earth. When droughts occurred in the Amazon rainforest in 2005 and 2010, the low rainfall caused the area to produce more carbon dioxide than it brought in to convert to oxygen.
Rainforests also draw water from the forest floor and release it back into the atmosphere in mist and clouds. If rainforests fail to recycle the large quantities of moisture that help supply bodies of water and irrigation systems around the world, droughts could occur around the planet.
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