Hot Town: Summer in the City
Among the many anticipated and increasingly observed adverse impacts of a warning climate is a rise of the urban “heat island” effect. Local leaders have begun addressing this problem with simple measures that protect their citizens from dangerous heat while also saving energy.
Climate Central recently posted a report detailing observed increases in urban heat for more than 60 US cities. On average, urban heat can be 17.5 degrees higher than surrounding areas, and cities are sweating through eight more searing hot days today than in 2004. Heat extremes are even worse in some of the cities included in the report.
Heat is the biggest weather-related killer in the US, and the combination of higher temperatures and increasing urban populations means local leaders will need to ramp up solutions for cooling our cities and our people. Fortunately, there are numerous means of reducing urban heat, and they are all relatively inexpensive. Measures as simple as planting more trees and vegetation, installing green or white roofs, and using cool and permeable pavements help to cool cities, and have co-benefits associated with energy use reduction and stormwater management.
Climate Central Staff
Cities are almost always hotter than the surrounding rural area but global warming takes that heat and makes it worse. In the future, this combination of urbanization and climate change could raise urban temperatures to levels that threaten human health, strain energy resources, and compromise economic productivity.
Summers in the U.S. have been warming since 1970. But on average across the country cities are even hotter, and have been getting hotter faster than adjacent rural areas. (report continues below interactive)
Image credit: Climate Central