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microclimatisation

for years, i've been fascinated by the small. perhaps it's because of my diminutive stature, but i'm convinced that there is as much to be learned from observing tiny, anomalous phenomena as from the great trends of history. after all, everything large is composed of a multitude of smaller parts and, if you really want to understand how the superstructure works, it helps to know something of all its underlying components.

recently, i've even come to notice this about the weather. living in montreal, an island set in a narrow river, with three large hills (we call them mountains) in the centre, real mountains to the north and a large plain to the south, i've become aware that the city is not so much a cohesive meteorological whole as one might be given to think. the neighbourhood of notre-dame-de-grace, located to the west of the hills that we call mountains, is consistently cooler and rainier than areas on the eastern side. by comparison, neighbourhoods in the east, are always a few degrees warmer. the plateau, the flat expanse to the north of the hills/ mountains, is in turn dryer than the areas further east and south (closer to the river), which have not only greater heat, but greater humidity than those areas to the west. so one can talk about the overall weather in montreal, but that is always an aggregate of different areas of the city.

people acknowledge the existence of microclimates whether they realise it or not. commonly, when people live close to a large body of water, they expect that the weather will be cooler and windier close to the shore than further inland. san francisco is renown for its peculiar microclimates, where weather in the city can vary dramatically within a tiny geographical area. but the fact is that all cities with temperate climates exhibit this tendency to some degree. this can be a factor of geography, or can be caused by human intervention. this can apply to neighbourhoods, or even- of interest to landscapers and horticulturalists- within a lawn or garden. wherever there is space, there can be a perceptible difference in climate from one area to another.

so what's the weather like where you are?

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