Friday, March 16, 2012

Science and Scenery

We have a delightful view across from the house at the moment, a small area of huerta with Almonds trees in full bloom. Like a pink mist they are  a sight to behold and if you have ever smelt almond blossom you will appreciate what a joy they are. Undoubtedly its because of  all  the hills and dales here because the trees on our side of the little valley were in flower weeks ago and are now covered in spring fresh green leaves.

The almonds are in the group of trees that flower before getting their leaves. This process means the flowers are not only able to access maximum sunlight but they also get first dips on the trees store of carbohydrates. Flowering early also helps the trees avoid the attentions of so many insects as the life cycle of insects is such that they are around in fewer numbers in the first flush of spring. We seem to have  lots of little micro climates around the area. A Micro-climate is a local atmospheric zone where there are differences in climate from the surrounding area. It can be an  area as small as a few square metres (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square kilometres. Micro-climates exist, for example, near bodies of water which may cool the local atmosphere, or in heavily urban areas where brick, concrete, and asphalt absorb the sun's energy, heat up, and re-radiate that heat to the ambient air. We used to see the effect of a large body of water creating such an effect when we lived near Loch Ness. Another contributing factor to micro-climates is the slope  or direction in which an area faces.. Here South-facing slopes  are exposed to more direct sunlight than opposite slopes and are therefore warmer for longer.
We have an example of such areas consisting of just a few square metres on our Los Tollos plot with some trees being in full leave and some still in full blossom
Well thats the technical bit the result is a sight for sore eyes from the front of the house.

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