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Landscaping for Drought Could Make Warm Nights Cooler

Published on September 2, 2016

A Bay Area-friendly stormwater curb extension in California.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons and PSA1966 under CC BY-SA4.0

As drought-stricken residents of Los Angeles’s hottest neighborhoods replace thirsty lawns with native plants, pavers and bare soil, new research has shown how their local climates could begin tipping back in the direction of their desert-like origins.

Nighttime lows help people recover daily even as heat waves persist.

In a region beset this year by drought and powerful heat waves, the widespread adoption of drought-proof landscaping is expected to bring warmer days — and much cooler nights. Overall, experts say the changes would help to protect residents from heat waves, which are being made worse by global warming.

California, naturally prone to drought, is enduring the fifth year of a historically bad one. Droughts are projected to intensify in California as temperatures rise, reducing mountain snowpacks and soil moisture and potentially altering weather patterns.

Continue reading to find out how landcover and irrigation impacts temperature cycling in arid climates.

(Originally published by KQED and John Upton.)

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