Nature’s own weather forecasters

Did you know that certain plants too can accurately forecast weather?  Unlike us, they do it without computers and other instruments.

One such plant is the Silver Oak tree.  When a storm is about to approach, they flip over their leaves, exposing their silvery undersides.  The mosaic of silver against the darkened sky serves to be an indicator of a storm approaching.

There is a scientific explanation for this.  Not only, there is ‘calm before a storm’, as the old saying goes, but you may have noticed, there is also a ‘coolness before a storm’ brought about by a moisture-laden wind.  The hot air in the area tends to rise and small eddy currents or breezes cause the light, papery leaves to flip over.  Ever wondered why do these trees and their leaves show this phenomenon?  We are yet to find out.

There are other signs and elements observed in nature’s beings, which cannot be explained.  Birds, especially crows, gather on treetops and raise a ruckus just before an earthquake.  Is it because they can sense the tectonic movements of the earth?

It is a well-known fact that during the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, which took the Andaman Islands and southern parts of the Indian mainland by surprise and storm, none of the wild animals in the forests was affected. They all escaped, of their own accord, to higher grounds but the loss of human lives and property there was magnanimous, as we were not able to predict it.

Does this indicate that animals have extrasensory perception, which we humans have lost through the years, owing to our excessive dependency on technology?

For more, do read the author’s story ‘The Storm’ in her book, ‘Our Green Saviours’.


Cover Pic: The Storm (Silver Oak Tree)

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About the Author /

Katie Bagli is an avid nature lover and she gives expression to her passion by writing for children. She has several published titles to her credit, nearly all of which are on various subjects of nature. Besides writing Katie also enjoys illustrating her own books. Through her writing she strives to bring about awareness and sensitise the young to the environment and wildlife. Her books have been recommended for general reading in schools and also to college students of zoology. Nature and environment are topics close to her heart. When the BMC came up with a plan of revamping Rani Bagh (now known as VJB Udyan and Zoo), Byculla, Katie joined four other women to form the Save Ranibagh Foundation which campaigned to save the more than 3000 trees that exist there from the construction work that would take a toll on them. Katie has conducted various wildlife workshops and story-telling sessions in schools (in Mumbai and elsewhere) and other institutions. She had also been invited by the Andhra Pradesh Government to Vijayawada to conduct a session on Literacy Day for the Differently Abled Children. She is on the advisory board of the science magazine Spectrum, a joint venture by the faculties of St. Xavier’s College and Sophia College, which is targeted for school children of standards 7 – 9. Katie also blogs for Saevus, India’s premier wildlife magazine. When she is not writing Katie devotes her time to taking tree walks, nature trails, and conducting creative nature writing workshops for children. She also indulges in fun-filled nature-related activities for the young and old, like writing scripts and organising puppet shows and plays.

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