Aquatis inaugurates its first exhibition, Flying rivers

Nov 6, 2019

What is a Flying river? How can forests help us to fight climate change? What endeavors involving explorers and scientists led to our understanding this phenomenon that is little known yet so vital for the world’s climate? The flying rivers temporary exhibition offers answers to all these questions through a journey to the heart of the Amazon from October 12th 2019 to June 28th 2020 at Aquatis, Aquarium Vivarium Lausanne.

With the recent wildfires in the Amazon, its fragility and importance in fighting global warming have made the news all over the world. For most people, however, the Amazon rainforest is simply a carbon sink and a jewel of biodiversity. What they don’t realize is the extent and complexity of its influence on both the South American and world climate. Among the Amazon’s little-known yet vital phenomena, the most important is undoubtedly the flying rivers.

The Aquatis Foundation introduces us to flying rivers, outlining how they function and their vital importance through an interactive and educational exhibition program for all ages, from curious younger visitors to older ones. It is a unique opportunity in Switzerland and Europe to grasp the importance of natural forests such as the Amazon, and their essential and complex role in maintaining the stability of the geoclimatic system. Different levels to experience the exhibition are offered, including tactile experiences, fun animations, a space for writing and a 3D film.
Here we will learn that the flying rivers of South America are generated all along the equator, in the Atlantic Ocean where a large amount of evaporation occurs. The wind carries this moist air which the Amazon rainforest sucks in and magnifies through large-scale evapotranspiration from the trees. This causes clouds to form above the forest, which then continue their journey till they hit the Andes. From there, this moist air gradually transforms into rain which supplies the rivers of the Amazon and irrigates areas far from the equator.
We will also discover how the Amazon helps to prevent temperatures rising through the different phenomena it controls. By acting as an air-conditioning system for the continent, the rainforest also reduces the amount of ozone and polluting microparticles in the air and supplies water to a longitude (line of desert above the Tropic of Capricorn) where one would otherwise expect to find dry regions.

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