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Springfield Tornado Zone, Micro-Climate Change

SPRINGFwx cntrIELD, Mass (WGGB)- It’s been nearly two years since the June 1st tornado tore through Western Mass, but its impact is still being felt today.  Researchers from the USDA Forest Service in Amherst are doing a micro-climate study to find out how big of an impact the trees lost in the tornado are having on temperatures.

A series of weather centers are set up in the backyards of Springfield residents to track and compare the weather conditions of an impacted zone to a neighborhood not impacted by the storm. The data is collected every 15 minutes and transmitted into a monitor inside of the home.

The initial findings show that the areas with severe damage to the tree canopy, with little to no tree cover remaining, showed higher daytime temperatures. The difference, about 3 degrees Celsius.

The ReGreen Springfield project planted thousands of new trees to these impacted areas. Their goal is to track the progress as the trees grow, mature, and restore the tree canopy over the next several years.

While homeowners in the city are serving as citizen scientists, students at the Renaissance School in Springfield will also be participating in the project. “They will be looking at the real time data, they will be analyzing it making graphs, and my hope presenting it to the community, says Environmental Science Teacher Vanessa Cramer.

And as the information comes in we will all be able to see the impact on climate here in Springfield.

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