Plants help lower temperatures
As Melbourne swelters through another heat wave, scientists are using thermal imaging to work out how plants can be used to reduce the severe temperatures in our cities.
Because cities are covered in heat absorbing, hard surfaces such as concrete and bitumen they absorb and store heat, making urban areas warmer than the surrounding countryside, especially at night.
Temperatures can be as much as 4 degrees warmer in the city of Melbourne than surrounding areas - this is known as the 'urban heat island effect'. And on rainy days these hard, non-porous surfaces also prevent water being absorbed into the ground so that little moisture remains in the urban environment.