How to make a Climate Change at home

All you need is a chain saw.

When I bought my block in Lesmurdie 51 years ago the first thing one did was clear the land. It was termed ‘improvement’. Today, with double the global human population and our knowledge of how we are changing the planetary climate does it still make sense? Do millions of small clearings contribute to desertification? These computer generated graphs show diurnal change in Temperature, Humidity and Wind Speed when native vegetation is cleared on just an acre or so of land. The blue line indicates values before clearing, the red line after clearing. It is important to read the graphs as trends. Absolute values will be governed by global weather patterns, barometric gradients etc.

temperatureTemperature change outside its normal range at ground level has a major detrimental effect on surface soil organisms, the meso- and micro- fauna. As they die so will the soil rapidly revert to a lifeless dust. These micro-creatures keep the soil active, breaking down dead and decaying organic matter, returning the elements and minerals to the system to be taken up again in living plant material. They also aerate the soil allowing oxygen in to tree and plant roots, and providing channels for water penetration.

humidityHumidity drops well below the ‘comfort zone’ through the day, de-watering soil, plants and fauna. Note also that the dew point is exceeded at night, that’s when your car windscreen gets covered in dew. Humidity is a factor in the wellbeing of all living organisms in soil. A true soil is never physically dry. Water is retained between clay particles and within crystalline structures. Humidity accounts for free water vapour, free to move within the soil and to be used for the comfort and mobility of living organisms.

wind speedWind speed increases through the day compounding the drop in humidity and desiccating under-storey leaves. Wind is also the most noticeable problem, of greatest annoyance to human beings, blowing dust everywhere, slamming doors and windows, making it less desirable to sit out in the garden, or to have a barbecue and enjoy the great outdoors.

I am indebted to Dr Peter Rye, Climatologist, for these charts.

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