Another year of microclimate citizen science!

‘CurieuzeNeuzen in de Tuin’ (CNidT), the large-scale citizen science project on drought, heat and moisture in gardens is playing extensions. After a summer that was exceptionally wet, the project hopes to collect additional data on heat and drought. Find out all in the original story in De Standaard (here a shortened translation).

An ailing summer that never really got off the ground, with extreme flooding in large parts of Flanders in July. It was not the ideal setting for ‘the largest citizen survey on drought and heat ever’ in Flanders. Nevertheless, CuriousNoses in the Garden, a project by De Universiteit Antwerpen, De Standaard and many partners, was an unexpected success. We collected unique information on temperature differences between gardens, with data from cold freezing nights in April to insights into urban heat islands. The wettest summer in 200 years came as an unexpected godsend: the 5,000 sensors in garden soils give us a unique insight into the role of gardens as sponges during extreme rainfall, which will be reported in detail in October.

The one of a kind pluche ‘garden dagger’

Drier and wetter

But to live up to the baseline of research on heat and drought, more information is needed. The researchers at the University of Antwerp are curious about the interaction between drought and heat, want to find out how gardens work as air conditioners during heat waves and how long gardens retain water during drought. That’s why the citizen research with the ‘garden daggers’ is being extended for a year. There is a real chance that we will have a drier and hotter summer next year. In that case, the questions above can be answered, and we can compare data: how do gardens experience a warm day in a wet year versus a warm day in a dry year?

With climate change, scientists predict that we will get more of both: longer periods of drought and heat, interspersed with periods of heavy rainfall. This trend has already manifested itself in recent years. The extension of the citizen survey provides a unique opportunity to cover the whole picture and map the effects of both drought and flooding on a large scale and in fine detail. But even if 2022 has another ailing summer in store, it would provide relevant insights, for example about rain infiltration and groundwater.

1,000 candidates

The extension of the citizen survey provides a unique opportunity to map the effects of drought and flooding on a large scale and in a detailed manner.
To obtain this data, the researchers are looking for at least 1,000 participants who want to continue the climate survey in their garden.

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