Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Climate Change Research in Munich

Posted by Richard B. Primack

I spent much of September and October living and working on the grounds of the Munich Botanical Garden during my trip to Germany as a Humboldt Research Awardee. The Munich Botanical Garden is distinguished by having thousands of plant species packed into a relatively small area, all taken care of by a staff of over 100 gardeners. The garden and adjacent research building were built 100 years ago.

I also visited the Technical University of Munich where climate change researchers are investigating the effects of future drought on the forests and tree species of southern Germany. In one experiment, a canopy has been built over a section of forest to exclude rain.

In a second experiment, tree seedlings have been planted in sandy soil, with some sections also heated by tubing filled with circulating hot water to simulate global warming. And to complete the experiment, half of the garden is automatically covered by a motorized swimming pool cover to keep out the rain.

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