In the summer of 2019, two streets in Parramatta only 1 km apart had two different temperatures.
Galloway Street only had 5 degrees above 40°C and Daking Street had 13 degrees above 40°C. Why do you think one street was hotter than the other?
The answer is trees!
Senior Researcher Sebastian Pfautsch from Western Sydney University found that Galloway Street had a lower temperature because it had more trees. “Urban trees cool our homes and turn parks into cool islands where we can relax in their shade during hot summer days,” says Pfautsch.
Trees not only provide shade, but are also a habitat for native birds, insects, bats and possums. The beautiful, colourful leaves and flowers on trees make you feel good when you have been stuck inside all day with only white walls to look at.
Professor Ros Gleadow, Plant Biologist at Monash University explains how trees are like giant evaporative coolers.
“The huge effect is that trees moderate the climate. It is always cooler under a tree than under an umbrella. Leaf temperature rarely gets above 28°C.”
Professor Gleadow continues, “Water is taken up by the roots and it evaporates from the leaves and this disperses energy (and therefore reduces temperature). It’s like putting a wet tea towel in front of a fan. They keep the house cool in summer.”
Cooler houses mean that we will use less energy!
1st August is National Tree Day. Let’s celebrate by planting more trees, taking care of them by choosing the right Australian species, putting them in the right spot, and learning how to water them if they are planted near concrete. Let’s make sure the trees we plant grow to be big and healthy.