Urban green spaces and variation in cooling in the humid tropics: The case of Paramaribo. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening

08 March 2024

Summary of Best, Schwarz, Obergh, Teuling, van Kanten, Willemen (2023): "Urban green spaces and variation in cooling in the humid tropics: The case of Paramaribo. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening" 89: 128111


Since 2019, Tropenbos Suriname together with the University of Twente, ITC, in the Netherlands have collaborated to establish a monitoring of urban green spaces in Paramaribo. Citizens all over Paramaribo volunteered to “adopt” small sensors measuring temperature and humidity to place them in their gardens or other green spaces they regularly visited. Now, the project team has analyzed the data of 16 sensors collected over one year. 


The researchers found temperature differences up to 6 degrees between the sensors around lunchtime. Sensors in greener surroundings, and especially with shrubs and trees combined, were cooler than sensors surrounded by impervious surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Some of the coolest spots identified are the Cultuurtuin, a forest at the Anton de Kom University campus and the M.C. Ooft plein ( Fernandes playground). On the contrary, the warmest sensor was found to be in Jodenbreestraat in the city centre with hardly any green in the surroundings. 


During the night and also in the wet season, these cooling effects of urban green are smaller. This is because trees also cool their surroundings by transporting water from their roots, through the stem, branches and leaves into the air, called evapotranspiration. The cooling resulting from that is lower when the overall humidity in the air is higher, as is the case during the night and generally for the wet season.  


These findings are not only relevant for Paramaribo, but also many other cities in the tropics, as most studies on the urban climate are conducted in cities outside of the tropics. More detailed findings on Paramaribo are published in the English scientific article which is accessible free of charge here. If you would like to investigate the data collected further, you can access them on the dashboard