What is Microclimate?
Microclimates and micro-environments refer to the immediate, onsite conditions in given space. Microclimates are limited to a specific geographical area, functioning as a climate inside of a larger climate. It’s found in a small and local area such as a forest floor or a mountain valley. Microclimates have variations of elements such as temperature and humidity in comparison to the surrounding climate.
The factors that influence microclimates are:
Temperature Humidity Index (THI)
Heat Stress Index
Dew Point Temperature
Microclimate in Agriculture:
Microclimate plays a major role in the modern ideology of sustainable irrigation methods. By determining the microclimate and soil moisture parameters, the usage of water can be optimized as much as possible.
The key thing is not to leave the water get evaporated soon. Mulching is nowadays used to avoid this problem. But modern agriculture practices uses mulching sheets (commonly known as mulch films). Mulch films are made of plastic which radiates heat very well. This affects the microclimate of a farm. Traditional mulching practices in India was to use organic waste like fallen leaves, crop straws, etc for mulching. One of the big deal in this method is that the microclimate is enhanced even more. It is because organic materials has the capacity to store moisture and release them gradually. This makes the place even more cooler.
How to improve Microclimate?
There are some ways in which you can improve the microclimate. Microclimate strives only when there are surplus trees in your field. Restricting the the air flow with trees in the bound of your farm enhances your microclimate. Prevent the soil from getting too much heated by the sun. But this doesn't means that you must not expose the ground to sun light.
How to monitor Microclimate?
Micro Weather stations are the best ways to monitor microclimate. A weather station equipped with sensors that can measure temperature, humidity & barometric pressure is sufficient to monitor microclimate. Soon I'll be posting a DIY guide for a Micro Weather station. Stay tuned!
Feel free to voice your queries.