Birmingham City hotting up

BBC Weather presenter and former University of Birmingham student John Hammond has opened two new weather stations in Birmingham to help planners study heatwaves and climate change at a neighbourhood level, Birmingham University weather stations monitor city's climate.

The stations at Edgbaston and in the city centre will allow research into how urban centres affect the climate with temperatures in city centres sometimes 10C higher than surround suburbs and countyside.

He described Birmingham as being "a bit like a huge great storage heater".
"During the daytime, the sun beats down and very slowly these big masses of concrete and tarmac warm up and they store the heat so that during the evening time the urban area continues to gradually release that heat into the air," he said.

The new weather stations should provide an impetus to improving the green cover in the city with trees and green cover providing an important role in reducing temperature. With Birmingham already very green it will be interesting to see how improvements to the city especially with green space and green cover can help mitigate any increases in temperatures.

A report, THE EFFECTS OF URBAN TREES ON AIR QUALITY, notes that as well as reduced air temperature trees can improve air quality and even reduce energy use in adjacent buildings.

Simulation studies on Greater Manchester report that an increase of 10% in urban green cover in high-density residential areas (green roofs) would decrease the expected maximum surface temperature in the 2080s by around 2.5°C.

The use of trees to mitigate heat means proper care needs to be considered on the placement of trees as while reducing energy use by lowering temperatures by shading buildings they can also shade buildings in winter increasing energy use. The removal of trees from Corporation Street for the metro extension will be an interesting specific test of these affects and a comparison against tree lined New Street.


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