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Plants can moderate local climates.

Posted by Maria Cristina Chiulli on

The climate near the ground in a tropical rainforest is dramatically different from the climate in the canopy 50 meters (164 feet) above. This vertical gradient among other factors allows for the staggering biodiversity we see in the tropics. 

A 2015 partial solar eclipse caused the air temperature of an Eastern European meadow to change more dramatically than it did in a nearby forest. That's because trees provide not only shade, but their leaves also reflect solar radiation. At the same time, forests tend to reduce wind speeds.

All those factors add up. A 2019 review of 98 wooded places — spread out across five continents — found that forests are 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) cooler on average than the areas outside them. According to that same study, forests are usually 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than the external environment during the wintertime. 

Developers have long understood the impact small-scale climates have on our daily lives. Urban heat islands are cities that have higher temperatures than neighbouring rural areas. Plants release vapors that can moderate local climates. But in cities, natural greenery is often scarce. To make matters worse, plenty of our roads and buildings absorb or re-emit heat from the sun. Vehicle emissions don't help. Sometimes, the documented temperatures within a single city vary by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 to 11.1 degrees Celsius).

That's where metro parks and city trees come in. They have nice cooling effects on nearby neighbourhoods. Several cities around the world have developed programs to increase urban green spaces. Tree planting programs and green roof programs, have been shown to lower surface temperatures, decrease air pollution and decrease surface water runoff (urban flash-flooding) in urban areas. (source: ecowatch.com)

How can we help mitigate heat waves? Adopt an eco friendly lifestyle, use renewable energy, public transport, walk more, ditch single use plastics and use natural reusable eco friendly products, plant trees in your garden and wherever most needed. Say Yes to Life, Earth Thanks! 🌿

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