For a long time I've wanted to measure the temperature differences between the Old Forest and nearby urban areas, to see the difference the green cathedral has on temperature.
On June 8th I pulled together quite the rig to do it and within the span of a little over an hour (~3:30-4:30p.m.), I measured the temperature in the following locations:
- the Overton Square parking lot (aka, "Satan's Griddle") .
- next to the Overton Square parking lot, in the shade of a lone magnolia.
- In the Old Forest.
- At the edge of the Teton Trek clearcut, with the cut on one side and the Old Forest on the other.
- In the middle of the Overton Park Greensward.
- Overton Square parking lot, full sun, 100 degrees.
- Teton Trek clearcut-adjacent, full sun, 96 degrees.
- Greensward and tree shade in Overton Square, full sun and shade, respectively, 93 degrees.
- Old Forest, shade, 87 degrees.
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Since the Old Forest is Memphis' natural state -- what we approach when we let up on the chainsaw and lawnmower -- the 87 isn't special, it's normal. We complain about the heat in Memphis, but a good chunk comes from the artificial climate we've created with bulldozers, which we then have to over-correct with the artificial climate of air-conditioning.