Kestrel Meters and Biomimicry Research: Desert Edition
We learn a lot from nature. With all of the interesting and diverse climates that exist around the world, desert regions remain unique for their hostile environment of barren, hot, dry landscapes with very little rainfall to sustain living things. Desert conditions make it difficult for most plants and animals to survive. This is one of the reasons the desert serves as a significant biome for field study research. Studying how desert plants and animals have adapted to survive in such a harsh habitat can lead to important insight and scientific discovery – particularly in biomimicry research.
Biomimicry involves studying the natural world and how it works, and then imitating natural designs, strategies, and systems for the purpose of solving complex human problems. This may inspire new technologies, inventions, products, or solutions.
Kestrel Instruments aid in biomimicry research by providing accurate microclimate data that can be used to analyze patterns and changes in the environment. Recently, Kestrel Instruments played a role in helping researchers to observe the desert weather and gather inspiration for improving urban environments.
What is a Typical Desert Environment?
Located around the globe, deserts are typically found either north or south of the equator. In fact, 1/3rd of the earth is covered in desert climates.
Deserts typically receive fewer than 10 inches of rain each year. They also have a high rate of evaporation from both the ground and the plants. Some years, a desert may receive ample rain while the next year it receives nothing.
In terms of heat, the average temperature for a desert is 100 degrees F, while at night the average hovers around 25 degrees F.
Keep in mind that a desert is not entirely defined by heat. Antarctica, the world's largest continent, is also considered a desert due to its very low annual interior rainfall. There are no trees or bushes in Antarctica---no plants could survive other than moss or algae---but animals live in that climate.
With such extreme climate variations, one might wonder how plants and even animals survive in deserts throughout the world.
Evolution and adaptation are two major factors when it comes to desert climate survival. But how can we take thousands (if not millions) of years worth of evolution and help improve our urban cultures with the help of Kestrel meters?
Reducing Heat in Hot and Arid Climates
A real-world example using Kestrel and biomimicry research was inspired by a Saguaro Cactus. The idea was to take inspiration from the cactus' natural defense properties against the heat and use it in modern architecture to reduce passive heat.
"The idea behind my project was attempting to find a way to passively reduce heat in architecture in hot and arid climates.
I decided to look at the Saguaro cactus since it is native to the area and found the ribs that run around the plant are thought to have self-shading properties. Other plants do this and have been successfully replicated in architecture (ex: the Durian fruit was mimicked by the Esplanade Theater).
I wanted to create a design that was relatively simple/easy/cheap to apply to many buildings rather than a complex design that is difficult to implement, so I decided to replicate the ribs that are around the cacti. I built two structures, one control and one that was “ribbed” and set a drop in each one to measure the temperatures every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, for two weeks."
-Steen Hausknecht-Buss, Pacific University
Measuring Environmental Conditions with the Kestrel DROP
The Saguaro cactus has thick and waxy skin with spines along the ridges. These ridges help create shade from the intense sun. Using the force of nature and Kestrel DROP, Steen was able to replicate an exterior for architecture to help keep it cool.
Measuring with the Kestrel DROP Data Logger is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to track a range of elements.
Depending on the type of DROP you choose, you can view and log measurements such as:
- Heat Stress Index
- And more
All of the above factors play a role in desert conditions, along with hot and arid climates.
The Kestrel DROP is a small and compact device that easily hangs wherever you need it. It also comes equipped with convenient tracking measures so you can record data around the clock.
Operating with a single-coin battery, you can store thousands of data points and view data wirelessly via Bluetooth.
This means that no matter what type of biomimicry research you're doing, you can track data in any environment and expect top-notch accuracy.
Change the World We Live in with Kestrel & Biomimicry Research
Whether you are trying to improve heating and cooling, solar power, or the overall form and function of architecture, Kestrel meters and biomimicry can revolutionize the world around us. Choose to innovate with the power of nature while using Kestrel weather meters and instruments!