How vegetation influences climate
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The presence of trees and plants, that is, of all existing vegetation, influences the climate. At the local level the vegetation helps to reduce the environmental temperature and generates rainfall and globally, influences helping to mitigate climate change.
For this reason, the indiscriminate felling or massive today It is negatively influencing the climate, favoring the acceleration of climate change. To better understand this problem and this process of influence, in this Green Ecology article we analyze how vegetation influences climate and we will see the great importance of vegetation on our planet.
Vegetation as regulator of urban climate
To begin to explain how vegetation influences climate a good starting point to understand it is the urban places and its climate .
. urban areas there is an effect called heat island effect which is the generation of heat as a result of large amounts of concrete, pavement and other materials that accumulate heat, plus they are places where there are large amounts of machines, such as cars and air conditioners, that when working emanate heat. This effect has a strong impact on the environmental sustainability of a city. Due to this, the cities put to the test the capacities of adaptation of the human being before the high temperatures and thus the concepts of smart cities urban architecture or urban ecology, which are already used as indicators of urban sustainability . The urban vegetation (plants and especially trees) provide great benefits to urban environments, making it develop a more pleasant life, in addition to its aesthetic and ornamental importance.
First, urban vegetation improves the temperature of the air through the control of the radiation of the Sun and the environmental humidity so that the vegetation regulates the climate of the cities . The trees and plants give stability to the urban temperature by raising the levels of environmental humidity through the process of evapotranspiration (elimination of water vapor through the leaves). In addition, the leaves block the passage of the Sun, managing to lower the temperature of these heat islands. In summer, the temperature of the asphalt under the shade of the trees can be up to 20ºC lower than if there were no shade and the foliage of the trees makes the air between 3ºC and 5ºC cooler.
, trees are like urban lungs that provide oxygen to the atmosphere and absorb CO2 through the process of photosynthesis. The vegetation also filters and aromatizes the air and has a great capacity to reduce pollution. This is done by filtering the contamination, as they trap the particulates of dust, chemicals and soot. Through photosynthesis, in addition, they remove dangerous contaminants and absorb petroleum-based elements, preventing water systems from receiving them.
How does vegetation in the climate of urban, rural and natural places
One can not speak of vegetation as a regulator of global climate, but rather at a local level. In addition to that the vegetation has cooling effects on the local temperature it also exerts another effect, the heating effect of the climate.
The presence of vegetation reduces the albedo, which is the percentage of radiation that a surface reflects the radiation that falls on it, since darker colors absorb more solar radiation and reflect less of this radiation to the outside. To this we must add that, being organisms with a rough surface, they absorb more. As a consequence, the vegetation increases the local temperature by increasing the heat transferred.
On the other hand, as there is more vegetation coverage, there is also more evapotranspiration, which favors condensation and the generation of clouds and local rains. In addition, more heat is spent in passing the water from the liquid to the gaseous state, which results in a cooling of the local temperatures.
Therefore, the effect of the vegetation on the temperature is ambiguous. There are environments, such as the urban, where predominates more cooling where the plant covers are not so wide and other environments, such as rural and natural environments such as forests, where there is more vegetation predominates more the effect of warming .
Vegetation influences global climate by reducing climate change
Plant communities can help reduce climate change acting as carbon sinks thanks to their capacity to absorb the CO2 that we emit. Thus, good management of agricultural and forest ecosystems can help mitigate climate change by stimulating its sink effect. This includes reducing deforestation and increasing the protection of habitats and forests. However, forests can also become sources of CO2 emissions, for example in fires .
Another use of plants is the generation of biofuels that are renewable resources, thus avoiding the use of fossil fuels. Although this would not remove the CO2 from the atmosphere, it would be able to avoid the increase in CO2 emissions. The problem is that other side effects could be generated, such as the increase in the prices of other crops or the felling of forest areas.
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