Going Green: Air temperature patterns
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A study of city air temperature patterns is underway to learn how trees and tree cover can influence temperature fluctuations, and temperature has a big impact on energy use for heating and cooling urban buildings.
“We're basing our methods on a study that we did recently in Baltimore. We have also collaborated on a similar study in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sensors were placed around the city to make the measurements and then predict the effect of the tree cover on temperature in that city as well,” said Gordon Heisler, Meteorologist, U.S. Forest Service.
Eleven weather stations like this have been positioned around Syracuse to measure temperature, humidity, rainfall and more over a one-year period. They've been positioned near buildings, and in neighborhoods to gather data that will provide a guide for designing an urban forest.
“Tree cover can make a difference of something like two degrees centigrade. If you have those kinds of temperature differences over a large area of the city it can have a large influence on such things as the energy used for heating and cooling buildings,” said Heisler.
Syracuse is one of 16 cities in the U.S. selected for ecological research funding and in this case the focus is on urban climate and the importance of vegetation on temperature, storm water runoff and people's perception of urban quality of life.
“So we're really looking at the socioeconomic metabolism of a rustbelt city in the northeast and how they're going to provide food and fiber and quality of life for people who live in this region,” said Myrna Hall, Director, ESF Center for Urban Environment.
The urban tree cover will also be studied for its impact on air pollution and the help trees provide preventing storm water runoff. All the results will be put together in a computer model.
“We will be able to change the tree cover design in the computer model to tell us what will happen for long range planning when urban forestry will go to work to change the tree cover in the city,” said Heisler.