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What Is An Urban Heat Island?

What Is An Urban Heat Island?

Several parts of the country are reeling under heat wave conditions. Cities, especially, are a lot hotter than rural areas. This is due to a phenomenon called an “urban heat island”.

  • An urban heat island is a local and temporary phenomenon experienced when certain pockets within a city experience higher heat load than surrounding or neighbouring areas on the same day.
  • These are not the typical islands around water bodies, but urban heat islands that record higher day temperatures than other localities.
  • The temperature variation can range between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius.
  • For example, a greener locality like Pashan in Pune often records cooler temperatures than urban areas like Shivajinagar, Chinchwad or Magarpatta.
  • The variations are mainly due to heat remaining trapped within locations that often resemble concrete jungles.
  • Rural areas have relatively larger green cover in the form of plantations, farmlands, forests and trees as compared to urban spaces.
  • This green cover plays a major role in regulating heat in its surroundings.
  • Cities usually have buildings constructed with glass, bricks, cement and concrete — all of which are dark-coloured materials, meaning they attract and absorb higher heat content.

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