News Picks : Untilled farmland provides localized cooling on hottest days
Nature: No-till farming is an agricultural practice in which crops are planted without the field's having been plowed first. It is promoted because it reduces erosion and increases soil moisture retention. Previous studies of a possible cooling effect had looked at longer periods and larger areas. Now, Sonia Seneviratne of ETH-Zürich and her colleagues have examined local temperature data from an experimental farm in Provence in France. They then incorporated those data into a climate model covering most of Europe. The model predicts that on days of average temperatures, the air temperature in the immediate area of the unplowed fields would be less than 1 °C lower. However, on the very hottest days, the cooling effect could reach 1.6 °C in northern Europe and 2 °C in southern areas.