You may be wondering what the funny looking contraptions you see above are, and why they are deployed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens & at the Bishan-AMK park.
Well, the short answer is that we (the NUS urban climate lab, and NPark's Centre for Urban Greenery) are trying to obtain some climate data in the Gardens and at Bishan-AMK for a variety of reasons. First, some important background:
You may have noticed that city parks and other green spaces have significant difference in micro-climate compared to other parts of Singapore -- for instance, walk outdoors in the morning or evening in Singapore's parks, and compare that when walking in Orchard Road around the same time - you'll definitely feel a marked difference in warmth.
One of the reasons for this difference is the urban heat island -- simply defined as cities having higher temperatures compared to their non-urban surroundings due to a combination of (i.) more heat being stored and released by concrete, asphalt and glass surfaces typical of cities, and (ii.) waste heat from air conditioning and cars.
The additional heat can be very large -- we've documented a difference in evening temperature between Orchard Road and the forest at Lim Chu Kang of 7 °C
While the increased warmth can be considered a good thing for folks living in cold climates in winter, it's not really a good thing here in Singapore as you can imagine!
One of the ways in which to reduce this heat signature is to have more green spaces within cities - and having them not only demonstrably reduces temperatures, it also allows for spaces of enjoyment for recreation and play.
A major challenge therefore is to see how the types of plants, the densities in which they grow, and how they are distributed here within the garden affect climates for park visitors. As part of this project, one of the things we need is to see the climate "profile" of parts of the Garden and at Bishan-AMK over different times of the day and year.
This is where these stations - and the data they collect - are so useful.
Each station measures several things -- air temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and globe temperatures (i.e the surface temperature of the black globe) - that will be logged and analysed.
The results of which will be combined with other research that will take place later this year, so that we can have more insights into how managing vegetation in Singapore can be improved for visitor's climate comfort.
Thanks for reading, and do contact us if you have further questions!