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Microclimates Research Paper

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Introduction

Microclimates A microclimate is the distinctive climate of a small-scale area, such as a garden, park, valley or part of a city. There are 4 ways in which the landscape can alter the microclimate. These are: 1) upland areas 2) coastal regions 3) forests 4) urban regions Aspect is an important concept in microclimates. It is a distinct feature or element in a problem and the visual percept of a region. East or west aspect may affect rainfall or snow cover. This in turn may affect vegetation, humidity, evaporation rates. URBAN MICROCLIMATE The table below summarises some of the differences in various weather elements in urban areas compared with rural locations. Sunshine duration 5 to 15% less Annual mean temperature 0.5-1.0 �C higher Winter maximum temperatures 1 to 2 �C higher Occurrence of frosts 2 to 3 weeks fewer Relative humidity in winter 2% lower Relative humidity in summer 8 to 10% lower Total precipitation 5 to 10% more Number of rain days 10% more Number of days with snow 14% fewer Cloud cover 5 to 10% more Occurrence of fog in winter 100% more Amount of condensation nuclei 10 times more Marked differences in air temperature are some of the most important contrasts between urban and rural areas shown in the table above. For instance, Chandler (1965) found that, under clear skies and light winds, temperatures in central London during the spring reached a minimum of 11 �C, whereas in the suburbs they dropped to 5 �C. ...read more.

Middle

You are no longer walking under a hot, baking sun. It feels sheltered and it may feel slightly more humid. Radiation exchanges in woodland Examples of tree albedos: Scots pine 9%; Oak (summer) 15%, Oak (spring) 12%; Sitka spruce 12%; Norway spruce 12%; Orange trees 32%; Tropical forest 13%. The effects of woodland type Temperature in woodlands * Woodlands are normally cooler in summer and slightly warmer in winter. Moisture in woodlands * Increased output of moisture - In a forest , leaves are continually transpirating moisture into the atmosphere. As winds inside a woodland area are usually light, this moisture is not easily dispersed. * Interception of moisture input - On the other hand, vegetation is continually intercepting moisture, so less of it reaches the forest floor. * The net effect on humidity levels within a woodland is small. * Daytime temperatures within a woodland are cooler than those outside - this makes the relative humidity of the air greater within a forest (even if the forest atmosphere contains the same absolute amount of water vapour as outside it). * Experiments suggest a 5% difference, although much depends on the time of year and weather conditions. The air near the ground cools rapidly and the cooling gradually spreads upward. Since cool air is more dense than warm air, on a night with no wind, gravity will pull the coolest air down. ...read more.

Conclusion

With increasing water body inertia, the water temperature decreases. The daily range of water temperature (difference between maximum and minimum) is reduced and there is a phase shift between air and water temperatures. When the water body is in shadow (for instance a pond in a courtyard), the incoming solar radiation is reduced, with a further reduction in water temperature. The use of water bodies such as ponds, streams and cascades for evaporative cooling is best suited to warm and dry climates. Outdoor evaporative cooling mechanisms can help to provide outdoor comfort and to lower indoor cooling costs by lowering the air temperature surrounding the building. The landscape techniques include the use of pools or ponds, fountains or sprays cascades or falls, drip or mist irrigation and surface or subsurface irrigated areas such as rock and pebbles. The proximity of a site to the sea or other large water bodies also affects the climatic conditions in and around the site. Wind movement from the water body during the day, and towards it at night, is caused by temperature differences of the air close to the surfaces of the soil and water. The relative humidity of air is also affected, since the air coming from a water body is more humid. Such phenomena are stronger close to water bodies, but may also affect the regional climate by creating strong air movement reaching large distances. This is mainly affected by the physical characteristics of the region, such as topography and vegetation. ...read more.

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