Published in: Climate 2020, 8(6)
Trees are considered to be effective for the mitigation of urban overheating, and the cooling capacity of trees mainly comes from two mechanisms: transpiration and shading. This study explores the transpiration cooling of large trees in urban environments where the sea breeze dominates the climate. In the experiment, sap flow sensors were used to measure the transpiration rate of two large trees located in Sydney over one year. Also, the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the canopy, as well as the vertical temperature distribution below the canopy, were measured during summer. In this experiment, the temperature under the canopies decreased by about 0.5 degrees from a 0.5 m height to a 3.5 m height, and the maximum temperature difference between the inside and outside of the canopy was about 2 degrees. After applying a principal component analysis of multiple variables, we found that when a strong sea breeze is the primary cooling mechanism, the sap flow still makes a considerable contribution to cooling. Further, the sea breeze and the transpiration cooling of trees are complementary. In conclusion, the characteristics of synoptic conditions must be fully considered when planting trees for mitigation purposes. Since the patterns of sea breeze and sap often do not coincide, the transpiration cooling of trees is still effective when the area is dominated by sea breeze.