Summer thunderstorms become much more fierce when they collide with a city than they would otherwise be in the open countryside, according to research led by Princeton engineers.
According to a recent study, adding parks in urban spaces can cool the city by as much as 4°C.
Vegetation cools local temperatures when the water it has absorbed is evaporated from its leaves – much like the cooling effect of perspiration. The researchers say that the increased greenery would not have to involve building new parks. For instance, green roofing – roll-out strips of soil planted with succulents, commonly used in Germany – would have a similar effect.
While actually dealing with the entire planet rather than just cities, AlertMap is a really interesting site. It displays, in real-time, all the disasters that have befallen the Earth recently (and it is extremely comprehensive too). The WSJ had an article about it where you can find out more.
About a month ago, I discussed the Heat Island Effect (where cities are warmer than their surrounding areas). Well, it turns out that this phenomenon has affected the evolution of the organisms that live in cities, or at the very least, ants. In their paper Urban Physiology: City Ants Possess High Heat Tolerance Angelleta et al. demonstrate that urban ants have a higher heat tolerance than rural ants. Further studies will have to be done on city mice and country mice.
From 1998 until 2003, the EPA created the Urban Heat Island Pilot Project to help work on heat reduction techniques for cities. The pilot project focused on Baton Rouge, Chicago, Houston, Sacramento and Salt Lake City. The project’s recommendations are included on the site.