New York City’s Central Park Becomes a Lab to Study Climate Change
New York City’s famous Central Park was first created in 1858 and is NYC’s “green lungs.” Now, scientists are using Central Park to study climate change to help parks all around the nation become more resilient.
The Central Park Climate Lab team created a Central Park laboratory. They want to use data from satellites and on the ground to study different seasonal patterns and how plants and animals are responding to the changing climate.
The lab was launched earlier this year as a joint effort between Central Park Conservancy, the Yale School of the Environment, and Natural Areas Conservancy.
Why Central Park? Over the last ten years, the park has seen more extreme weather conditions than ever before. Heavy rain, blizzards, high winds, and both hot and cold extremes, to name a few. During the pandemic, Hurricane Ida took NYC by storm. It was reported that 3.15 inches of rain fell in the park in just one hour. To put this extreme weather into context, according to Weather Insurance Agency, to have a quarter-inch of rain, it would need to lightly rain for 2-3 hours, moderately rain for 30-60 minutes, or heavy rain for 15 minutes.
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Researchers hope to learn more about how climate change affects these ecosystems and hopefully come up with solutions to halt global warming. Karen Seto, a professor of geography and urbanization science at the Yale School of the Environment, told Reuters,
“We also want to understand how the park is part of the solution,” she said. “How much carbon does the park sequester? How much cooling relief does the park offer to both people who come to the park, but also residents around the park?”
“Cities are going to have to be part of the climate change solution,” she continues. “We’re hoping to inform policy in terms of how best to manage the assets here in the park … so that the green space can continue to provide cooling relief, cleaning air, etc.”
The organizations are installing tools to help measure growth in trees. Hopefully, they will be able to gather a lot of data from this magnificent park, and it will help give insights on what steps to take next to save the planet!
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