Like all urban parks, Central Park cools New York City through evaporation. That is, its plant life and ponds give off moisture, which takes heat energy with it. It's as if the park sweats. Until recently, though, we didn’t know whether green spaces cool the planet as a whole. It was thought that their local cooling effect could be part of a zero-sum game, leading to equivalent warming elsewhere when the water they give off condenses. They might even help increase the planet’s overall temperature, promoting the formation of the kind of clouds that hold in heat. But while evaporation …
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