The Urban Heat Island Effect

THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT

Something known as the “urban heat island effect” has a bad impact on the environment.  It’s getting more and more difficult to deal with the heat island in cities because of climate change. Some areas of the country get very hot very quickly, which is bad for your health.

URBAN HEAT ISLANDS DEFINITION:

Urban heat islands, also known as UHI, are cities that are much hotter than the surrounding countryside.

urban heat islands definition
  • It’s possible for cities to become “heat islands” when the land’s natural cover is replaced with surfaces that can absorb, store and emit heat.
  • Urban heat islands are caused by a lot of things, like concrete pavements and asphalt roads.
  • It’s most common to see damage in cities and urban areas and cities. People often remove vegetation cover when they build things.
  • All but a few of these structures don’t use the sun’s energy. As such, they store heat and release it later. This, in turn, causes the temperature outside to rise slowly.
  • The urban heat island effect is the reason why cities are hotter than the rest of the country. This is because rural areas have more vegetation cover, which cools the air.
  • Compared to the rest of the country, the temperature in urban areas can be about 10°F higher than in the countryside.

EXAMPLES OF URBAN HEAT ISLANDS

Climate change and global warming are to blame for the heat island effect in cities. The world’s most well-developed cities are experiencing warmer temperatures than less well-developed areas. (Research from The Washington Post)

  • Most cities in the United States are heat islands. The paved streets and sidewalks absorb heat and slowly release it mostly at night.
  • It’s a good idea to look at the cities in the United States that have a lot of people living in them as examples of “urban heat islands.”
how does urban heat island aggravate global warming

CAUSES OF URBAN HEAT ISLANDS

There are a lot of things that can make cities hotter than they should be: (Research from the United States Environmental Protection Agency)

  1.  Waste Heat from Human Activities

     

  • Waste heat is the heat that comes out of mechanical machines and other thermal processes, and it is called “waste heat.”
  • Most of the things that people do end up generating waste heat. People who live in cities have air conditioning systems that make the air around them hotter.
  • Vehicles and industrial plants also make a lot of heat, which makes the temperature rise slowly.
  • Waste heat build-up ends up making cities hotter.
  1. Urban Geometry

  • In an urban area, this refers to how buildings are arranged or how far apart they are. Due to limited space, buildings are often built in close proximity.
  • A thermal mass is a group of buildings that are close together. A thermal mass is any material that can take in and store heat. Thermal masses release heat into the air on a regular basis.
  • Poor urban geometry may keep buildings from releasing the heat they have stored. This will result in a temperature increase in the environment.
  • The multiple layers of buildings in cities trap heat, thereby causing a heating effect.
  1. Reduced Natural Land Cover

  • The natural land cover is made up of trees and other plants in a certain place. Plants play an important role in regulating the temperature.
  • Terrestrial green plants use a process called transpiration to send water vapor into the air. This slows down the temperature, especially in areas with a lot of trees.
  • In addition, trees provide shade, which lowers the temperature around them. The pavements and buildings in cities don’t have the same effect on the environment as they do in other places.
  • It’s because most of the materials used to build can store heat that buildings and other structures can become heat islands.
  1. Urban Haze

  • All over the world, there is a lot of air pollution, and it often looks like haze. This happens when smoke and other air particles mix together in the lower atmosphere.
  • These compounds can cover cities, stopping heat from going into space.
  • Urban areas have a lot more particulates than rural areas do. Vehicles and other machinery that run on fossil fuels emit greenhouse gasses that accumulate in the air.
  • People living in cities can get hotter when there is enough pollution in the air to make it hotter. This is called the “heat island effect.”
  1. Wind Blocking

  • By moving warm air around, wind can lower the temperature of the environment. This is called convection. However, high-rise buildings in cities act as wind barriers.
  • Wind speeds can also be slowed down by buildings and other structures. It will be easier for the areas of the room with warm air to keep the heat.
  • In cities, heat can be kept inside buildings and on the streets. In the heart of a city, areas tend to be warmer. This is because they don’t get very cold winds.
  • A city that has a lot of barriers can quickly become a heat island. If the buildings in one part of the city are very close together, the urban heat island effect can be very bad, and it can be very hot there.
how does urban heat island effect climate

HOW DOES URBAN HEAT ISLAND AFFECT CLIMATE

The urban heat island effect has an effect on both the local environment and the climate.

  • Scientists say that the urban heat island effect has had little or no effect on the world’s climate.
  • However, the phenomenon has a big effect on the local climate in the areas that are affected. It also has to do with climate change, which makes cities hotter than they used to be.
  • People who live in big cities that cover a lot of lands will feel the effect even more.
  • Urban heat islands can make the effects of climate change worse in some areas. 

HOW DOES URBAN HEAT ISLAND AGGRAVATE GLOBAL WARMING?

Global warming causes the temperature to rise in all parts of the world, making it hotter. The planet is getting warmer all the time, which is causing a lot of problems for the environment. (Research from the book Urban Ecology by Maria-João Alcoforado and the University of Lisbon)

  • The main cause of global warming is the release of greenhouse gasses into the air.
  • Global warming and urban heat islands can raise the temperature of the air. Like climate change, global warming makes the urban heat island effect worse.
  • Scientists have looked at the effects of urban heat islands on global warming. Thus far they don’t believe the heat from cities is adding to global warming. 
  • Oddly, global warming trends don’t seem to change even if cities around the world are getting warmer.
examples of urban heat islands

THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT IS SUBTLY HARMING THE PLANET

The temperature in cities rises because of the urban heat island effect. There can be a problem with ecosystems and habitats if there is a lot of heat in the world. Extreme heat events happen both during the day and at night when cities become heat islands.

Heat-related illnesses and even death can happen in the worst-case scenario when these things happen. A lot of people get heatstroke in very hot weather. In the near future, the urban heat island phenomenon will cause a lot of problems for the environment.

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