Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Sun, 27th May 2012

Do motorways create a microclimate?

motorway verge (c) Sarah 777

This week we find out how a species has so successfully infiltrated the verges of the UK road systems. Plus we ask can we create life by heating up basic chemicals...

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  • Do motorways create a microclimate?

    Dear Chris, Love your podcast been listening to it driving down the full length of the country - good driving audio - keeps you awake, alert and amused. Thank you. I do have a question - at this time of year, late March - early April, the verges and central reservations of ...



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I understand that the Highways Agency have looked into this (partly as they have to keep on top of vegatation to prevent drains blocking up etc). and appears to be a relatively new phenomenon - with the spread really being noticed in the late 1980's.  This may be coupled with improvements in road ice prediction systems (such as the one operated by Vaisala) and more systematic application of grit.

There is little doubt that it has spread along the salty corridors of major roads rather than by spreading of grit contaminated with scurvey seed.

I would suggest that anyone who has been unfortunate enough to stand next to a major highway in the rain will have experienced spray from passing vehicles and how this turbulence could spread seed along roads.  Mazurka, Mon, 30th Apr 2012

Do motorways create a microclimate?

In some ways, yes.


source Lmnre, Mon, 30th Apr 2012

There is also the well documented effect called "Urban Heat Island".  Cities, perhaps due to the large dark colored asphalt area tend to be a couple degrees warmer then the surrounding countryside. CliffordK, Sun, 27th May 2012

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