Tuesday, October 2nd 2012, 6:58 AM EDT
The Met Office is working to better understand the cumulative impacts of increasing temperatures and urban growth, and how these might affect the lives of city-dwellers today and in the future.
Dr Mark McCarthy, Climate Research Scientist, explains:
What are urban heat islands?
Put simply, an urban heat island is a man-made area that’s significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside — especially at night. the term stemmed from the analogy of an urban heat island as a ‘warm island’ in a ‘cool sea’ of the surrounding natural environment.
Heat islands exist because the land surface in towns and cities, which is made of materials like tarmac and stone, absorbs and stores heat. That, coupled with concentrated energy use and less ventilation than in rural areas, creates a heating effect.
Do cities automatically classify as urban heat islands?