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Soil surface temperatures reveal moderation of the urban heat island effect by trees and shrubs

Edmondson, Jill L., Stott, I., Davies, Zoe G., Gaston, Kevin J., Leake, Jonathan R. (2016) Soil surface temperatures reveal moderation of the urban heat island effect by trees and shrubs. Scientific Reports, 6 . p. 33708. ISSN 2045-2322. (doi:10.1038/srep33708)

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Abstract

Urban areas are major contributors to air pollution and climate change, causing impacts on human health that are amplified by the microclimatological effects of buildings and grey infrastructure through the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Urban greenspaces may be important in reducing surface temperature extremes, but their effects have not been investigated at a city-wide scale. Across a midsized UK city we buried temperature loggers at the surface of greenspace soils at 100 sites, stratified by proximity to city centre, vegetation cover and land-use. Mean daily soil surface temperature over 11 months increased by 0.6 °C over the 5 km from the city outskirts to the centre. Trees and shrubs in non-domestic greenspace reduced mean maximum daily soil surface temperatures in the summer by 5.7 °C compared to herbaceous vegetation, but tended to maintain slightly higher temperatures in winter. Trees in domestic gardens, which tend to be smaller, were less effective at reducing summer soil surface temperatures. Our findings reveal that the UHI effects soil temperatures at a city-wide scale, and that in their moderating urban soil surface temperature extremes, trees and shrubs may help to reduce the adverse impacts of urbanization on microclimate, soil processes and human health.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/srep33708
Uncontrolled keywords: Ecosystem services; Urban ecology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 16:06 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:03 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/58078 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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