Confirmed, trees help control temperature in cities
It is often possible to observe – sometimes to the understandable indignation of those who see in it more than an action aimed at cleaning up municipal investment – how Various urban interventions in different parts of the Spanish geography have consisted of eradicating trees from parks, promenades or city streets. Unfortunately, in addition to the obvious arbitrariness with which these interventions have sometimes been carried out, it is a practice that is as common as it is counterproductive.
Trees produce oxygen, sequester CO2, host a good part of urban biodiversity or provide psychological benefits just as green areas do, among other services. In addition, in certain areas of a country like Spain, characterized by its high summer temperatures, trees above all protect us from the sun’s rays and high temperatures through shade and perspiration. And in this sense, despite the fact that previous research had already highlighted the role of trees in mitigating urban heat and its associated impacts on people’s health, the way in which they affect the temperature of different cities and in turn, in the different spaces within these, it had been a relatively little studied issue.
Now, however, a new study titled The role of urban trees in reducing land surface temperatures in European cities, is published this week in the magazine Nature to shed light on this issue. In it, its main author, the researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences of the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich,Jonas Schwaab, and their colleagues, based on satellite data for land surface temperature and land cover, compared the temperature differences between urban areas with trees, urban green spaces without trees, and built-up areas of 293 European cities.
Thus, the authors found thats urban areas with trees showed temperatures 2 to 4 times lower than urban green spaces without trees. Also that, compared to the continuous urban fabric, the temperatures (on land surface) observed in urban areas with trees were between 1ºC and 4ºC lower on average in the southern regions of Europe, and between 8ºC and 12ºC in Europe Central.
Temperatures in urban areas with trees were between 1ºC and 4ºC lower on average in southern European regions and between 8ºC and 12ºC in Central Europe
The researchers also highlight that, although urban trees have great potential to cool urban areas in all European regions, especially in summer, pastures and some urban green spaces without trees have a small warming effect in some cases in some urban areas in southern European regions, “which further reinforces the idea of the importance of trees in cities,” the authors conclude.
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