(Press-News.org) Scientists from Stockholm University have investigated the mechanisms that create cool microclimates beneath forest canopies during warm and dry summer days. The study reveals how canopy shading and water evaporation together create cooler forest microclimates compared to temperatures outside forests. The article is published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.
”The findings are alarming in the context of climate change as more frequent and more severe droughts may threaten the cooling functions of forests,” says Caroline Greiser, researcher at the Physical Geography Department, Stockholm University, and leading author of the study.
Forests can buffer hot temperature extremes – a natural air conditioning effect. They do so by providing shade and by evaporating and transpiring water. “Imagine forests sweating in the heat to keep their internal temperature low,” says Caroline Greiser and continues: “We need to drink a lot to be able to sweat, and forests need soil water.”
The study, spanning four consequent summer seasons and based in temperate broadleaf forests in Central Europe, brings to light the consistent finding that daily maximum temperatures in forest understories are, on average, 2°C cooler than their surroundings. Small tree seedlings as well as much of the forest biodiversity depends on these buffered forests microclimates.
Drier soils create a weaker cooling effect
The research team found that higher soil moisture levels improved the cooling effect in forests, emphasizing the combined contributions of canopy shade, soil water evaporation, and plant transpiration to cooler microclimates.
”We used a network of small temperature and moisture loggers spread across different forest patches to link daily fluctuations of sub-canopy temperature to canopy cover and daily fluctuations of soil moisture at a given site,” says Caroline Greiser. She further adds: “Forest microclimate research often focuses on canopy cover as a major driver of understory cooling. Our study highlights the role of soil water in buffering understories from the rising heat.”
As climate change causes more disturbances to forest canopies and increases the risk of soil droughts, forests may lose their cooling function. The researchers therefore emphasize the significance of incorporating soil moisture into models predicting forest microclimate, biodiversity, and tree regeneration.
Soil drought weakens forest microclimatic cooling
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Study shows advanced footwear technology positively impacts elite sprint performances
A scientific study published in PeerJ Life & Environment sheds light on the potential game-changing impact of advanced footwear technology (AFT) on elite sprint performances in track and field. The research, titled "The Potential Impact of Advanced Footwear Technology on the Recent Evolution of Elite Sprint Performances," reveals the significant strides made in sprint performance and suggests that AFT has played a pivotal role in these improvements. Elite track ...
What's behind the holiday-suicide myth
PHILADELPHIA – For more than two decades, the Annenberg Public Policy Center has tracked the ways in which news organizations erroneously link the year-end holiday season with suicide, perpetuating the false holiday-suicide myth. But as years of national data show, the winter holiday months usually have low average daily suicide rates, with December the lowest of all. In our new media analysis, we find that of the newspaper stories during the 2022-23 holiday season that explicitly connected the holidays with suicide, 60% correctly debunked the myth while 40% incorrectly supported it. But it’s not just the media that ...
More than a meteorite: New clues about the demise of dinosaurs
What wiped out the dinosaurs? A meteorite plummeting to Earth is only part of the story, a new study suggests. Climate change triggered by massive volcanic eruptions may have ultimately set the stage for the dinosaur extinction, challenging the traditional narrative that a meteorite alone delivered the final blow to the ancient giants. That’s according to a study published in Science Advances, co-authored by Don Baker, a professor in McGill University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. The research team delved into volcanic eruptions of the Deccan Traps—a ...
INU scientists propose a model to predict personal learning performance for virtual reality-based safety training
In Korea, occupational hazards are on the rise, particularly in the construction sector. According to a report on the ‘Occupational Safety Accident Status’ by Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor, the industry accounted for the highest number of accidents and fatalities among all sectors in 2021. To address this rise, the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency has been providing virtual reality (VR)-based construction safety content to daily workers as part of their educational training initiatives. Nevertheless, ...
Placing nanoparticles in the palm of your hand
Nanoparticles are super tiny―as small as one nanometer, or one billionth of a meter―and are of keen interest to materials scientists for their unique physical and chemical properties. They cannot be detected by the naked eye and require a highly specialized electron microscope to be seen. In fact, advancements in imaging technologies through the 1990s and early 2000s are what made the field of nanoscience possible, says Anne Bentley, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. “I ...
Rice engineers tackle hard-to-map class of materials
HOUSTON – (Dec. 4th, 2023) – The properties that make materials like semiconductors so sought after result from the way their atoms are connected, and insight into these atomic configurations can help scientists design new materials or use existing materials in new, unforeseen ways. Rice University materials scientist Yimo Han and collaborators mapped out the structural features of a 2D ferroelectric material made of tin and selenium atoms, showing how domains ⎯ areas of the ...
Unravelling the mechanism of urticaria from eruption shapes
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis as well as protecting the body from the outside environment. Skin diseases can be life-threatening or heavily impair patients’ quality of life. Urticaria (also called “hives”) is common, affecting at least one in five people in their lifetime, and can persist for years or even decades. Many skin diseases are unique to humans, and their pathogenesis often remains unclear due to the lack of an appropriate experimental animal model and limited clinical data. One such human-specific disease is chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), which is characterized by the ...
New theory unites Einstein’s gravity with quantum mechanics
A radical theory that consistently unifies gravity and quantum mechanics while preserving Einstein’s classical concept of spacetime is announced today in two papers published simultaneously by UCL (University College London) physicists. Modern physics is founded upon two pillars: quantum theory on the one hand, which governs the smallest particles in the universe, and Einstein’s theory of general relativity on the other, which explains gravity through the bending of spacetime. But these two theories are in contradiction with each other and a reconciliation ...
Study: Artificial light is luring birds to cities and sometimes to their deaths
Nearly 1,000 birds were killed Oct. 4-5 when they collided with an illuminated glass building in Chicago. Though mass fatalities of this magnitude are rare, light pollution poses a serious – and growing – threat to migrating birds. In the largest study of its kind, published in Nature Communications, scientists used weather radar data to map bird stopover density in the United States and found that artificial light is a top indicator of where birds will land. City lights lure birds into what can be an ecological trap, said lead author Kyle Horton, an assistant professor ...
Decades after blood pressure-related pregnancy complications, Hispanic/Latina women can have changes in heart structure and function
Decades after blood pressure-related pregnancy complications, Hispanic/Latina women can have changes in heart structure and function Findings highlight importance of early monitoring and management of hypertension during and after pregnancy Hispanic/Latina women with a history of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) – conditions marked by high blood pressure during pregnancy – are more likely to have abnormalities in their heart structure and function decades later when compared with women without a history of HDP, according to a National Institutes ...