The Effects of Native Tree Species on Ambient Air and Surface Temperatures in Southeastern Michigan

Organization(s):Crestwood High School
Student(s):Zeina Jebara Itidal Bazzi
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher(s):Diana Rae Johns
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report, U.S. Student Research Symposia (SRS)
Protocols:Air Temperature, Surface Temperature, Biometry (including Tree Height)
Presentation Poster: View Document
Optional Badges: Be a Data Scientist, Make An Impact
Date Submitted:03/10/2020
Measuring circumference at DBH

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Gathering data is essential when developing strategies to improve an understanding of the impact urban trees potentially have in helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect. The GLOBE Observer App for trees was used to obtain tree height and circumference and a Pasco weather station was used to record weather data. All of the data was entered through the GLOBE data entry portal. Preliminary analysis showed that of the trees sampled, basswoods (Tilia americana) had the largest ability to reduce surface and air temperatures while the red maples (Acer rubrum) appeared to have a smaller effect. This research indicates that this tree species, when planted in a greater number in urban settings, might help to mitigate the warming effect that many anthropogenic structures and surfaces have in cities to a greater degree. As more and more people move to urban areas, it will be important to consider simple and inexpensive ways to keep them cool. By understanding which native tree species are the most suitable for reducing the urban heat effect, we can help mitigate some of the negative effects of climate change. Although most trees have the ability to reduce temperatures, this research sought to determine if some native tree species are a better choice than others. Further research must be conducted to evaluate other native tree species suitable for city plantings.


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Your study was highly practical and a valuable investigation into the potential to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Incorporating densiometer measurements would help your approach. Why do you think basswoods are the most effective at cooling? If possible, an expansion of the approach to the diurnal and seasonal cycles would be great. I really enjoyed your poster.

Posted on 5/17/20 6:37 PM.

My name is Apryl and I am a Research Technician at the University of New Hampshire and a Graduate Student. My student work is focused on extracting ebullition events (methane bubble events) from a temperate wetland via acoustic data in an effort to better understand how this transport pathway is contributing to the global methane budget. The other projects I work with look at CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes from wetland and terrestrial systems. We are interested in how climate and land use change affects the emission of trace gases from these systems to the atmosphere.

The strongest part of your project was in the details. Your methods and subsequent limitations and conclusions were clear and concise.

Perhaps include the common name of your trees in the figures included in your report as well as both the common and scientific names for the ones in your poster. It makes it easier to follow the discussion for people who may not be familiar with scientific names. Don't forget to include y-axis labels and units emoticon

I think it would be interesting to see how your results may (or may not) change with the additon of more sample units. Also, I wonder how the results may shift along an urbanization gradient. Perhaps including a forest or park as a reference site as well as larger and/or smaller cities.

I really enjoyed reading about your project and think you both did a great job!

Posted on 7/1/20 6:51 PM.

Hi Itidal and Zeina,

My name is Emma Burkett – I am a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire working on my MS and PhD studying volcanoes in Alaska. My research primarily involves the use of trace elements in volcanic crystals to understand magma dynamics below active volcanoes, as well as the use of remote sensing data to better understand volcanic activity.

This is a very interesting and creative project with positive implications for local communities. I found the explanation of your project to be clear and concise, demonstrating your knowledge on the science supporting your project. The detail in your methods is superb! I would’ve loved a graph just showing the difference in temperature between under the canopy and under the sun to really drive home the impact of the tree canopy. One question I still have is how the leaf shape impacts the ability of tree to reduce temperatures. I don’t know much about trees and their leaves so a picture of their leaves might’ve helped me follow along. Fantastic project with great scientific conclusions – well done!
Congratulations on the successful completion of your project!

Posted on 7/1/20 6:51 PM.