The airco function of forests

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On a hot summer day, forests can feel a lot cooler than the surrounding area. On the map below, you can see the mean annual temperature in Flanders (Belgium). With their blue colours, forests clearly pop out, because there are on average almost one degree celcius colder than their surroundings. In summer, this difference can go up to several degrees. A real pleasant refreshment during heatwaves!

The temperature inside forests was modelled on a resolution of 25 x 25 m², based on a unique dataset of more than 1,200 mini-weather stations across all of Europe’s forests. The temperature outside forests was not modelled, but taken from Terraclimate, a database showing the temperature in 4 x 4 km² grid cells. This research is a collaboration between 52 researchers from 12 European countries and was led by three Belgian universities: the KU Leuven, UAntwerp and the UGhent. The corresponding scientific paper has been published in Global Change Biology and can be found here.

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