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Cooling Wetlands

September 6, 2018

Marshes could help cool off increasingly hot summer conditions.


Wetlands help dampen the effects of climate change. (Kyle S Hemes)

Wetlands help dampen the effects of climate change. (Kyle S Hemes)


Wetland air conditioners. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California is a patchwork of marshland and filled-in areas converted to agriculture. In the journal Biogeosciences, UC Berkeley environmental scientist Kyle Hemes and his colleagues report using the area as a laboratory to look for temperature differences between marsh and farm. They found that the wetlands averaged up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the farmlands.

KYLE HEMES (UC Berkeley):

Could that cooling effect actually promote growth and make for happier plants in these increasingly hotter, drier summers? And then can we understand how large-scale restoration could have an effect on weather patterns, convection patterns over a region even?


The goal is to help land use planners make wise decisions about the size and location of wetlands restoration efforts. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon